Hope someone can help with this.

I have a column of data that is in a pandas dataframe.

I need to convert the strings in this column to integers - but since the strings repeat I want a unique number assigned to each string e.g. a banana should = 0, an apple = 1 etc. However, I do not want to specify the assignment since there are may be up to 200 unique strings in a dataset of 175,000.

Column Desired result would be automatic allocation of numbers to each string name

banana replaced by a 0

apple replaced by a 1

pear replaced by a 2

banana replaced by a 0

grape replaced by a 3

apple replaced by a 1

pear replaced by a 4 etc.

So its automatic assignment of a number to each string - without needing to know in advance how many strings/numbers are in the column.

Thanks in advance.