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Kangaroo meat could be the new beef -

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KIM LANDERS: If you're not a fan of kangaroo meat, well this may not be a story for you.

A group of experts has compiled a list of foods that are likely to shape the Australian diet in 30 years and topping the list are kangaroo and seafood.

The researchers say that's because climate change will have had an impact on our food production as Penny Timms reports.

(sound of barbeque sizzling)

PENNY TIMMS: For many people a sizzling barbeque is the sound of summer dining in Australia.

But rather than throwing the beef snag or rump steak onto the hotplate, it could soon be a kanga-banger or fish fillet.

TOBIN NORTHFIELD: You may not be able to afford enough beef and you may have to switch to more economically viable options.

PENNY TIMMS: Dr Tobin Northfield, from James Cook University, is part of a team that's been investigating what the nation's diet will look like in 2050, thanks to the impacts of climate change.

The group is made up of entomologists, atmospheric scientists, dieticians and economists.

TOBIN NORTHFIELD: It really took a lot of effort to put this together and a lot of different minds think different ways. One of the things that we think will be particularly affected is meat consumption, particularly with beef consumption. The cattle consume plants which will be affected by pests but then the cattle themselves are also affected by pests. As well as beef produces a lot of methane gas so there may be also political pressures and social pressure to eat less beef.

PENNY TIMMS: And as Aussies eat less beef, seafood and kangaroo meat are expected to fill the dietary void.

JOHN KELLY: Kangaroo is now available in virtually every major supermarket in the country and it's on hundreds of restaurant menus across the country. Consumption patterns are increasing and evolving I guess is what we're seeing.

PENNY TIMMS: John Kelly is with the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia.

JOHN KELLY: Initially, the people who went looking for kangaroo were people making a personal choice on health grounds. On the basis that kangaroo is extremely low in fat and has no agricultural chemicals used in its production. So that was one sort of key consumer and the other was people making an ethical choice, on gain on personal ethics that they didn't want to consume meats that had lots of methane emissions in their production systems.

PENNY TIMMS: Mr Kelly says it's unlikely Australia will ever produce as much kangaroo meat as it does beef or lamb.

But he says there is capacity for production to increase significantly.

One of the biggest hurdles that the roo industry has had to overcome has been the stigma of eating an Aussie icon which is seen, in many circles, as little more than a fury pest.

But he says all of that is changing, thanks to international demand and an ever growing consumer conscience.

JOHN KELLY: Kangaroo has been the red meat of choice amongst Australian consumers for the last 40,000 years so really only the last100 years so there's been a bit of a hiccup in its marketing program and I think we're turning that around.

PENNY TIMMS: And it's not only carnivores who will feel the pressure.

Dr Tobin Northfield again.

TOBIN NORTHFIELD: We expect less consumption of fruits and vegetables because pollinator declines will contribute to less fruit and production.

PENNY TIMMS: But he says one of the biggest changes of all, will be to the way consumers think about food and waste.

TOBIN NORTHFIELD: Some of these perceptions are going to have to change. Not just for kangaroos but also in how we view food and food wastage.

KIM LANDERS: Dr Tobin Northfield from James Cook University ending that report from Penny Timms.