Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced that it has purchased a banana ripening factory based in Boston, Lincolnshire, which it claims will create up to 80 new jobs.
The 5,338 square metre factory was originally owned by fruit giant Del Monte, but has remained empty since 2011.
Morrisons has said that the purchase, which was completed as part of its partnership with Global Pacific, will enable it to engineer sweeter and longer-lasting fruit.
It added that controlling the supply chain would allow it to cater for customers looking to enjoy bananas at different stages of ripeness.
In a statement, the company said: "Customers tastes vary considerably with some preferring to buy their bananas with a tinge of green in order to ripen them at home, while others want more yellow, mature bananas that are sweeter and can be eaten straight away."
The chain has prided itself on running its own manufacturing sites, including abattoirs and bakeries.
The running of this latest factory, which is the sixth to be acquired by the retailer's manufacturing business since 2010, will be mainly left to Global Pacific, a company specialising in exotic fruit.
Chris Kilvington, chief executive officer of Global Pacific said: "We are delighted to be entering into this exciting partnership with Morrisons, and look forward to the opportunity to set up and run the site on their behalf."
Dalton Philips, Morrisons chief executive, added: "Bananas are the most popular fruit in the UK so it makes sense for Morrisons to apply its unique approach to food production to simplify the supply chain, cut out costs and improve quality."
He also said that the new approach would allow the company to tailor what is the most popular fruit in the UK to the needs of customers.
Bananas are mainly grown in south-east Asia, South America and Africa, and are often picked before they ripen, and are then transported across the world in refrigerated containers. They are then stored in factories where the temperature is carefully controlled, allowing them to ripen until they are ready to eat.