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Kiplinger Economic Outlook for 2011
Retail sales will resume their modest growth in coming months, following a solid holiday sales season. As shoppers return to nonholiday spending patterns, the realities of high unemployment and a still shaky housing market will keep a rein on their ability and desire to buy. Higher prices for raw materials will also bump up prices of some goods, further dampening demand. Look for overall retail sales to increase around 3% in 2011, compared with a gain of 3.5% in 2010.

Jamba Juice Introduces Slow-Cooked Oatmeal
Jamba Juice announced that it will be adding organic slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal to its breakfast menu.
The steel-cut oats will be made with minimal processing, which helps to retain many of the wholesome aspects of the grain. The oats are then slowly cooked in water and soymilk, resulting in a chewy texture. Instant oats, on the other hand, are processed through steaming and then rolled into flat flakes. Because rolled oats have been processed, they require less time to cook, which is why they're called "instant."

Jamba Juice and the SPC Group, a food-specialty company operating more than 4,500 stores, announced the grand opening of their first international Jamba Juice location in South Korea.The store opened in the Incheon International Airport, the primary airport serving the Seoul area and one of the largest and busiest airports in the world.

Planet Smoothie Franchise Opens
Rhonda Everitt, franchise owner of Planet Smoothie, said she thought she hit the jackpot when she found the location at 1105 Brown St., where Dairy Queen was formerly located.
"I had been looking for a site about 18 months," Everitt said. "And when I came down Brown Street, I saw that the Dairy Queen had closed. I knew this was the perfect place. There was a plethora of local businesses thriving, and I knew Planet Smoothie could, too."

Expected Higher Food Prices Could Cause Consumer Caution in 2011
Consumers are set to manage their food budgets more carefully in 2011 as they brace for higher food prices this year, according to a new report from the NPD Group. Several major companies have announced price rises for selected product lines on the back of higher commodity prices in recent months. And although Americans are starting to return to restaurants as the economy improves, unemployment is still high, meaning that many consumers are still looking for good-value ways to cook at home. This will lead to continued interest in coupons and discounts, buying private label foods, and eating leftovers, according to the market researcher.

Cutrale and Coca-Cola donate $3 M to UF for Citrus Research
Cutrale Citrus Juices and Coca-Cola have joined together to make a $3 million donation to the University of Florida Foundation in support of long-term research projects aimed at preventing widespread diseases that threaten citrus fruits, officials said.
The $1.5 million contribution by each company will be used to fund research programs focused on Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease commonly known as "greening." HLB is considered one the most destructive diseases that debilitates the productive capacity of citrus trees.


Ruling Lets Starbucks Take Over Packaged-Coffee Distribution
A federal court on Friday denied Kraft Foods Inc.'s request to block Starbucks Corp. from taking over the distribution of Starbucks-branded packaged coffee on March 1. The coffee-house chain is seeking to end a 12-year-old arrangement under which Kraft has been its principal distributor to retailers. In U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that Kraft "has not established that it has suffered irreparable harm," indicating the packaged-food giant failed to meet a key criteria that would have allowed the court to rule for the injunction.

Sierra Club Will Oppose Obama’s NAFTA-Style Free Trade Agreement
Like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Dominican Republic-Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), the investment chapter of this agreement continues to promote off-shoring, and exposes our domestic environmental, zoning, health and other public interest policies to challenge by foreign investors in foreign tribunals. In addition, the procurement rules of this agreement jeopardize our democratically-determined federal and state procurement policies. This means that policies designed to promote clean energy use and reward environmentally-sustainable companies would be vulnerable to challenge in international trade tribunals, even if those policies were developed at the state and local levels.

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