Supermarket chain Countdown is ramping up the war on plastic with an initiative that's set to change the way shoppers approach supermarket aisles.

From today, Countdown will accept BYO containers for food sold over the counter at 21 stores across Auckland and Christchurch.

The BYO containers can be used for the deli, meat and seafood counters, which have until now relied heavily on single-use plastic wrapping.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown's general manager of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability says reducing the amount of plastic and packaging remains a priority for the company.

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"We know that BYO containers are an option many of our customers are looking for in their drive to reduce single-use plastic," Hannifin said.

"We've already received lots of requests from concerned Kiwis wanting us to give them this option."

Countdown plans to roll out the initiative across all its stores after this trial.

"All of the feedback from our customers and team in these first 21 stores will be used to tweak our systems before we roll this programme out nationwide."

However, there are concerns over the hygiene aspect of allowing customers to re-use containers.

"The priority for us is to ensure that food safety is not compromised and that more waste isn't created as a result," Hannifin said.

"Part of our service will include training our team, making sure containers are clean and leak proof, and ensuring that containers are weighed correctly to ensure customers are only paying for the weight of the product they've purchased."