We investigated whether consumers in their sixties (or older) can use nutritional information as accurately as younger consumers in a pair of studies, the first conducted in a supermarket setting, the second in a laboratory. Both studies indicate that, when shoppers are instructed to select a cereal according to specific nutritional criteria, elderly subjects are less likely than younger subjects to search intensely and to select an appropriate cereal. In the laboratory setting, however, the age-related differences diminished when subjects wrote down all the nutritional information acquired during their search. Age-related changes in information-processing ability may explain the findings. Implications for public policy are discussed.
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