A £6m investment in top-fruit storage in Kent has been hailed as the biggest such move for a generation.

Fruit First has been created to combine the retail packing businesses of Fruit First, Gaskains, Worldwide Fruit and Richard Hochfeld at Faversham. Director Richard Day said the move was an effort to control cost pressure with economies of scale. He promised the savings would be passed to retailers and growers.

Centralisation would cut greenhouse gas emissions from HGVs, he added. A separate £1.7m investment will automate storage and packing for Richard Hochfeld's grape, stonefruit and kiwifruit business.