(April 13) GALILLEE, Israel — After years of marketing its Xtend modified atmosphere bag technology as a means of shipping iceless broccoli and asparagus, StePac L.A. Ltd. has come up with another use for the technology — bananas.

For the last three years, a British retailer has been packaging its bananas in the Xtend bags. Now, StePac has made the bags available for banana shippers in the U.S.

Asaf Shachnai, sales and technical director for StePac, said in a news release that the company began investigating the bags for use on bananas after the success of the retailer in the United Kingdom.

“Over the years the feedback from our customers has been that bananas packed in Xtend have better aroma and taste,” he said. “After hearing this over and over again we decided to investigate this phenomenon scientifically on commercial banana varieties.”

Shachnai said that, after several months of research and laboratory testing, it was determined that bananas packed in the Xtend bags had higher levels of carbohydrates, protein and water and the peels were preserved for longer periods of time.

StePac has also recently begun a series of tests for bulk modified atmosphere bags for shipping green to yellow bananas. The company has developed a polymer that allows green bananas to be packed at the source and ripened in the bags, without the need for cutting open the bags to allow ripening.

Shachnai said the bags can extend the green stage of the banana, extending its shelf life by up to eight days.