TORONTO — Ugly food can mean a pretty profit.[np_storybar title=”How Canadian grocery chains are tapping a new market with ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/how-canadian-grocery-chains-are-tapping-a-new-market-with-ugly-fruits-and-vegetables”%5DThey’re an unusual shape and they may have a blemish or two, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, according to IGA Quebec’s campaign to sell a variety of odd-looking fruits and vegetables at all of the province’s 290 stores.Continue reading.[/np_storybar]At least, that’s the bet Loblaw is making with its ugly duckling line of produce aimed at shoppers looking to save money on the sky-rocketing cost of fresh food.The company launched its Naturally Imperfect line last March, offering ugly apples and potatoes to Ontario and Quebec shoppers as part of a trial run that later expanded to select stores in other provinces.More types of cheaper, but blemished and misshapen, produce will soon be available across the country, the company announced Wednesday.“It really went well above and beyond what our expectation was,” said Dan Branson, the company’s senior director of produce.“I think it really spoke to the fact that Canadians are out there really looking for some options around driving value into their weekly shop and having greater accessibility to that healthy eating product of value.”Based on the program’s success, Naturally Imperfect will now include unsightly peppers, onions and mushrooms for consumers in Quebec and Ontario.Meanwhile, Loblaw’s Real Canadian Superstore, Your Independent Grocer and most No Frills stores in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba started stocking less-than-perfect apples and peppers Wednesday, and Atlantic Superstore and Your Independent Grocer locations in the Atlantic provinces started stocking Naturally Imperfect apples.Loblaw launches Naturally Imperfect program to sell undersized, blemished produceFood inflation has deepened the price gap at discount grocery stores, and Loblaw Cos is set to cash inPricey vegetables sending more consumers to freezer aisle: Metro CEOThe line’s produce is now also available at Your Independent Grocer and Real Canadian Superstore in Whitehorse, Yukon.The uglier version of a fruit or vegetable costs up to 30 per cent less than its good looking counterpart.That can be appealing to consumers who have been smacked with sticker shock on the produce aisle over the past year due to the low Canadian dollar and other factors, including shortages caused by a drought in California.Between January 2015 and 2016, Canadian food prices rose four per cent, according to Statistics Canada’s consumer price index. But fresh fruit and vegetables showed some of the biggest increases, shooting up 12.9 and 18.2 per cent respectively.In the fourth quarter of 2015, Loblaw’s internal food inflation outpaced the CPI’s 4.1 per cent jump, according to the company’s financial reports.And while it has managed to pass most of this cost on to the consumer, shoppers started choosing cheaper products when some foods surpassed a certain price point, president and executive chairman Galen Weston said during a conference call with investors last week.Consumers, especially those in Alberta where the economy is struggling, have flocked to Loblaw’s discount offerings, he said.Branson said Loblaw looks to deliver great value regardless of the economy, but thinks that with the way things are now the offerings may be benefiting Canadians more than when Naturally Imperfect was first launched.It plans to expand the program even more over the coming months.
6:51PMShort – not sweet Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Crispin Blunt, the honourable member for Reigate, is speaking now and says the petition is about avoiding embarrassment for Her Majesty.But, he notes, as the Trump invitation is in the name of Her Majesty the surest way of embarrassing her would be to withdraw the invitation.”We are dealing with a president who is the first non politician and non serviceman to be elected … He is definitively different,” Mr Blunt adds.”It is incredibly important that our Prime Minister has secured the first voice into the White House of a foreign leader.”Now the truth is we need to calm this debate and we need to take the hype out of it … The invitation has been issued, I don’t think it could or should be properly rescinded, so there is the possibility that the invitation will be taken up during the course of this year, I think that would be a mistake.”I think we need to point out that in 2020 we are going to have the 400th anniversary of one of the most remarkable events in British American history, which is the Pilgrim Fathers – incredibly important in the United States – and it will be an utterly appropriate moment to be marked by a state visit.” Mr Flynn is not holding back.He accuses Donald Trump of complaining about his own election result, lying about just about everything and acting “like a petulant child”.He also attacks Trump be for being “almost unique” in his belief in nuclear proliferation.The Labour veteran added:”I believe for that reason alone that we should consider this, and the Government should consider this with a bit of humility… and change the invitation to one for a visit, not a state visit.” ‘Say no to Trump’ projected on Parliament by Global Justice Now and Feral XCredit:Jess Hurd/Global Justice Now Liam Byrne, LabourCredit:BBC Debate triggered by a petition, signed by 1.8m peopleLabour’s Paul Flynn compares president to a ‘petulant child’Several Tory MPs defend the decision to invite TrumpHundreds of protesters gather outside in Parliament SquareProtests taking place in Birmingham, Manchester, SheffieldPM has already made clear the state visit is going aheadInviting Donald Trump on a state visit to Britain is a “no brainer” and in the UK’s “national interest”, according to a former Conservative minister and Hillary Clinton supporter.Sir Simon Burns said allowing the visit was “infinitely the right thing to do” if it strengthened the special relationship between Britain and America.The comments from Sir Simon are notable because he campaigned for Mrs Clinton against Mr Trump in last year’s presidential election. Mr Salmond, in his speech, says:”As an example of fawning subservience… the Prime Minister’s holding hands across the ocean visit would be difficult to match.”To do it in the name of shared values was stomach churning.”What exactly are the shared values that this House, this country, would hope to have with President Trump?”The former Scottish first minister said the US president is “not a stupid man”, adding it is a “recipe for total and utter disaster” for the UK to advertise its weak position to Mr Trump.”From my experience of negotiating with Donald Trump, let me tell the honourable member, never ever do it from a weak position because the result will be total disaster.”Meanwhile, the MPs can’t hear much from the protesters outside yet, but they are there: They came as MPs were debating a petition signed by more than 1.85 million people, calling for the visit to be stripped of the trappings of a state occasion in order to avoid causing “embarrassment” to the Queen.They were also considering an alternative petition, backed by almost 312,000 signatories, demanding the state visit goes ahead.Anti-Trump chants were heard from more than 2,000 protesters gathered in Parliament Square a few hundred yards from where the MPs were sitting in a committee room off Westminster Hall. The Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, who has made her views on Trump clear many times before, is in early to get a good seat: The SNP’s Carol Monaghan is asked to project her voice because she can’t be heard over the sound of protesters outside. She agrees.A little louder, the Glasgow North West MP says “showing an example to young people” is in the national interest, not granting a state visit to Donald Trump.She also asks why the debate is not being held in the main chamber. Outside Labour’s Diane Abbott is addressing protesters in Parliament Square.The Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott says:”We live in an area where there is a dark shadow of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment internationally.”It’s hard to stand up to it and I have always tried to stand up to racism and anti-immigrant sentiment all my political life.”We know the vales that Donald Trump represents – with Donald Trump you don’t have to look in a crystal ball, you can read the book.”He was supported in his presidential campaign by white supremacists.”Even in the first weeks of his presidency, he had had a visceral anti-immigrant line.”We hear that he has been invited for state visit. Whatever you think, a state visit is meant to be an honour.”I would say that Donald Trump has done nothing to be honoured for.”As for Donald Trump addressing MPs in Parliament, that was an honour reserved for people like Nelson Mandela.”How can anybody think that would be appropriate for Donald Trump? “So we live in a very difficult and dark era.”We have to support each other, we have to fight on and we have to say here in the UK, here in London – no place for racism, no place for anti-Semitism, no place for Islamophobia and no place for stirring up hatred against immigrants.” 5:10PMDonald Trump saviour of Nato MPs have warned Donald Trump will be able to detect Theresa May’s desperation for a US-UK trade deal by the hasty offer of a state visit.Labour’s Paul Flynn also compared the US president’s behaviour to a “petulant child” as he encouraged ministers to avoid making the mistakes of the past when “very unsavoury characters” have received invitations for state visits.The Newport West MP led a parliamentary debate on two petitions about the Prime Minister’s decision to extend an invitation to Mr Trump. Sir Simon BurnsCredit:BBC Sir Simon told MPs in the Commons that it was a “no brainer” that the invite to Mr Trump should be kept as post-Brexit Britain will need to keep America close. He said: “What we have got to do is look at what is going to be most helpful for Britain, for its future policy and development, and I think it is a no brainer that working closer with the United States is far more important for this country, particularly as we begin negotiations and the exit from the EU in two, two and a half years’ time. We cannot afford to be isolated and to ignore our friends.” 6:21PMDiane Abbott: There is a dark shadow of racism Thousands of protesters holding placards take part in a rally in Parliament Square against US president Donald Trump’s state visitCredit:Getty Images Europe Labour MP Paul FlynnCredit:BBC “I believe it is in our national interest to ensure that we can continue to be a candid friend to the US, he says.”We cannot do that if we totally ignore the US … we would become isolated and less influential.”What we have got to do is look at what is going to be most helpful for Britain, for its future policy and development, and I think it is a no brainer that working closer with the United States is far more important for this country, particularly as we begin negotiations and the exit from the EU in two, two and a half years’ time.”We cannot afford to be isolated and to ignore our friends.” 5:41PMFor and against Labour’s Naz Shah, who spoke against the state visit earlier, has also popped out to address the crowd: 5:31PM’It is in our national interest’ Naz Shah MP speaks at the #stoptrump rally pic.twitter.com/bCivOUOejw— Daniel Jackson (@Danoogie) February 20, 2017 Westminster Hall just before debate on Trump state visit – hope message will be loud & clear – he’s not welcome here pic.twitter.com/vNvILBLOkW— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) February 20, 2017 Meanwhile, protesters are gathering outside on Parliament Square: A few pictures from outside: Conservative Julian Lewis, chairman of the defence select committee, warnsagainst berating Mr Trump given the importance of the US to preventing World War Three via its Nato links.He described the alliance as “our best guarantee” of another world war not breaking out in the 21st century, adding:”If you knew that it’d make a significant difference to bringing him on side to continue with the policies that prevented a conflagration on that scale, do you really think it is more important to berate him, castigate him and encourage him to retreat into some sort of bunker rather than to do what the Prime Minister did, perhaps more literally than any of us expected, which is to take him by the hand and try and lead him down the paths of righteousness?”Because I have no doubt at all about this matter. What really matters to the future of Europe is that transatlantic alliance continues and should prosper.”There’s every prospect of that happening providing we reach out to this inexperienced individual and try and persuade him – and there’s every chance of persuading him that he should continue with the policy pursued by his predecessors.” #stoptrump protest at Parliament Square pic.twitter.com/uSBjUWbtww— Lily Massoud (@LilyWMassoud) February 20, 2017 A Tory former minister faced an angry backlash after apparently defending Donald Trump over his remarks – recorded by a US television station – that he would grab a woman “by the p***y”. Sir Edward Leigh said the comments were “horrible and ridiculous” but that many politicians will have made “some ridiculous sexual comment” in private. The remarks were met with groans of outrage by several MPs in Westminster Hall for the debate. 6:30PMSpeak up, please Sir Edward Leigh causes a bit of a stir by defending some of Mr Trump’s more controversial behaviour with the admission that he has made the odd sexist comment in the past.He says we all have at some point, in private at least.”Which one of us has not made some ridiculous sexual comment some time in our pasts?”Sir Edward also says he does not think the travel ban is racist, citing Indonesia as the world’s largest Muslim country upon which there is “no question” of a US travel ban. 5:46PM’He is definitively different’ As MPs debate the #Trump petition in the Commons anti Trump protestors beginning to assemble in Parliament Square: pic.twitter.com/I8tN4svRXC— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) February 20, 2017 Mr Flynn highlighted the fact that Mr Trump is only the third US president to be given the honour of a state visit and said he was invited too soon in his already highly controversial presidency.Barack Obama only received an invitation after 758 days, while it took 978 days before his predecessor, George W Bush, was offered a state visit, compared with seven days for Mr Trump.Mr Flynn repeated comments made by former Foreign Office permanent secretary Lord Ricketts, who said the Queen has now been put in a “very difficult position”. 4:30PMProtesters gather outside Parliament Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Mr Flynn is told to wind up as he was only meant to speak for 15 minutes and finishes with this warning: “There are great dangers in attempting to give him [Trump] the best accolade we can.”Tory MP Nigel Evans then steps up, for a maximum of five minutes he is told, and tells those who are finding it difficult to accept Trump as US President should “get over it”. One petition, with more than 1.85 millions signatures, calls for the visit to be stripped of the trappings of a state occasion in order to avoid causing “embarrassment” to the Queen.The other, supported by around 312,000 signatories, insists the state visit goes ahead.The Government, in its official response to the petitions, stressed ministers believed “the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit”.Speaking in Westminster Hall, Mr Flynn said only two US presidents have been offered a state visit since 1952.SNP MP Alex Salmond, intervening, noted: “The question of the seven-day invitation – would you interpret desperation as the reason?”And if you’re able to see desperation for a trade deal, do you think that President Trump might be able to detect it as well?”Mr Flynn replied: “The word comes to mind when we think of the circumstances of our beleaguered Prime Minister.”Labour MP Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) also said of Mr Trump: “To use the expression ‘Grab them by the pussy’ describes a sexual assault, and therefore suggests he should not be afforded a visit to our Queen.”Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) recalled previous invitations, asking Mr Flynn: “What complaint did you make when Emperor Hirohito came here, who was responsible for the rape of Nanking?”Mr Flynn replied: “There have been many people here who were less welcome than others. That’s absolutely true.”But we’ve had people here, very unsavoury characters and not from the United States as it happens.”But certainly we can’t try to imitate the errors of the past. We should set an example of making sure we don’t make those mistakes again.” The voices in favour of Donald Trump’s state visit seem to have disappeared.Labour’s Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, is speaking now.He says it would be hard now to withdraw the offer and “our best hope is we keep it short” because, he says, “my fear is it will not be sweet”. There is no sign so far of the debate kicking off – MPs are currently discussing the Vauxhall takeover bid.But here’s a quick guide to what is in store.Tonight’s Trump state visit debate is due to take place in Westminster Hall, which is the House of Commons second debating chamber.It could take up to three hours and, it must be noted, has no legal force. 5:14PM’Total disaster for this country’ Alex Salmond is up and talking about his experience of Donald Trump, having met him in his constituency.The former SNP leader says it would be “total disaster for this country” to negotiate with Donald Trump from a weak position. 6:06PMSir Edward causes a stir The SNP’s Alex SalmondCredit:BBC Demonstrators attend a rally in Westminster protesting against Donald TrumpCredit:Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Labour’s Rushanara Ali MPCredit:BBC 4:33PMAnd we’re off Tory MP Nigel EvansCredit:BBC Fellow Tory MP Crispin Blunt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, also backed the visit but said it should be delayed until 2020. “The truth is we need to calm this debate and we need to take the hype out of it,” he said, adding that it would be a “mistake” to allow the visit to go ahead this year.He told MPs: “I think we need to point out that in 2020 we are going to have the 400th anniversary of one of the most remarkable events in British American history, which is the Pilgrim Fathers – incredibly important in the United States – and it will be an utterly appropriate moment to be marked by a state visit.” 4:54PMEvans defends state visit David Lammy MPCredit:BBC 6:44PMMeanwhile on Parliament Square 4:15PMThe Trump debate: What to expect David Lammy MP is up. He questions why it took only seven days for Trump to be offered the full state visit.”We didn’t due this for Kennedy, we didn’t do the for Truman, we didn’t do this for Reagan,” he says.”I think this country is greater than that … I’m ashamed, frankly, that it has come to this.” A succession of Labour MPs have now spoken against the visit, including Paul Flynn, Paula Sherriff, David Lammy, Stephen Doughty, Rushanara Ali, Naz Shah.While those for include Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Evans, Julian Lewis, James Cartlidge and Sir Simon Burns.Labour MP Rushanari Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow) says:”It is deeply saddening and shameful that colleagues who are defending this visit are not recognising the serious concern that people have, particularly Muslims, but many others, about the dangers of Donald Trump.”And it’s time they spoke out against that kind of hostility, it is deeply divisive and it’s time they addressed this issue instead of making excuses and being apologists for his hatred.” The debate is, however, being seen as a type of anti-Trump protest and will give MPs a chance to vent their opinions on the new US President.Outside there will also be a protest which – if as expected it is well attended – will probably be audible to MPs in the hall.Speakers in Parliament Square including Owen Jones and Green MP Caroline Lucas.Other protests are taking place in Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.The historic city of Ely is hosting a postcard-writing session at a tea house.And activists in Reading will be creating a candlelit “circle of light”. Earlier veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn highlighted the fact that Mr Trump is only the third US president to be given the honour of a state visit and said he was invited too soon in his already highly controversial presidency. Barack Obama only received an invitation after 758 days, while it took 978 days before his predecessor, George W Bush, was offered a state visit, compared with seven days for Mr Trump. Repeating comments made by former Foreign Office permanent secretary Lord Ricketts, that the Queen has now been put in a “very difficult position”, Mr Flynn said: “I believe for that reason alone that we should consider this, and the Government should consider this with a bit of humility… and change the invitation to one for a visit, not a state visit.”In its official response to the petitions, the Government stressed ministers believe “the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a State Visit”. “We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised,” the response said. Paul Flynn, the 82-year-old Labour MP for Newport, starts the debate on Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK.”There was a great feeling of concern that welled up in this petition,” he says, before following up with a zinger.”The intellectual capacity of the president is protozoan,” Mr Flynn says. 4:43PMTrump is ‘like a petulant child’ Mr Evans also defends Donald Trumps saying: “I do respect that he stood on a platform on which he is now delivering.”He added: “He is going to go down in history as being roundly condemned as the only politician to deliver on his promises.”Mr Evans adds that he has seen “no evidence that he is racist” and makes the point that the Chinese were given a state visit 10 years after Tienanmen Square massacre and yet “where were the protest?”.”It’s double standards,” he says.”We have to ask ourselves why is it that people felt so left behind that they made the democratic decisions that they have which we think we can’t understand – how could you possibly vote for Brexit? How could you possibly vote for Donald Trump?”The fact is that the people have. These were the forgotten people. Just like we had the forgotten people in the United Kingdom, there are the forgotten people in the United States of America.” Parliament Sq filling up already to say #stoptrump pic.twitter.com/L3qRahGmzy— Nick Dearden (@nickdearden75) February 20, 2017 Nearly two million people have signed a petition objecting to Mr Trump’s state visit Credit:Andrew Harre/Bloomberg A few minutes ago, Conservative James Cartlidge said there would be “smiles all round in the Kremlin” if the UK withdrew its offer of a state visit to Mr Trump.He added he would also make a similar invite to Russian president Vladimir Putin despite aggression from his forces.Mr Cartlidge said:”Foreign policy for this country is best served by following the national interest, not through gestures or knee-jerk reactions.”Through calm effective diplomacy in the old-fashioned way, often behind the scenes, and through working towards a long-term strategy rather than something which frankly is redolent of student politics and would be a gesture that would get us nowhere.”Mr Cartlidge said the UK needs to be as close as possible to the US administration so it can raise concerns, adding if the state visit offer is rescinded then the UK will gain nothing.”I’ll tell you who will win – there’s one man, and that’s Vladimir Putin.”There will be smiles all round in the Kremlin if we follow this petition because the one thing they want in the Kremlin above all else is to divide the West.”They want the UK and US divided, they do not want a strong transatlantic partnership – that’s not just in our interests but in the global interest.”We would be crackers to do so.”Indeed, having said all that, I would offer a state visit to Vladimir Putin – as was done by Tony Blair.” 7:00PMSummary at 7pm: MPs attack Trump offer Demonstrators in WestminsterCredit:Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire 5:01PMDavid Lammy: ‘This country is greater than that’ Another Tory MP is up speaking in favour of the visit.Sir Simon Burns says the UK should be very careful to maintain the “special relationship” with the US.