Dole Food Company is trying to take better control of the banana ripening process in order to extend shelf life. The company is trialing a new packaging system that will be sampled first by consumers in Texas.

The company is working Market Street United and United Supermarkets in Amarillo and nine other Texas communities to test Dole FreshPack, a plastic bag which should keep the fruit fresher longer.

Bil Goldfeld, communications manager at Dole Fresh Fruit, says the trial will be deemed a success if Texan banana consumption increases.

Jason Kinkead, assistant produce manager at Market Street United, 2530 S. Georgia St., says the store has carried bananas encased in FreshPacks for about two weeks, and they seem to be popular among customers.

The new packaging should keep the bananas greenish-yellow in color for up to six days longer, without the need to use chemicals.

The two-pouch banana bag is designed with microperforations, and significantly slows the ripening process by reducing the concentration of oxygen around the bananas and increasing the level of carbon dioxide, according to David Bright, Dole Fresh Fruit vice president of marketing.