A ‘meat tax’ on bacon, burgers and beef could save 220,000 lives and £30.7billion around the world within two years, experts say.
Making red meat, heavily linked to cancer and heart disease, more expensive could encourage people to switch to eating healthier alternatives.
In the UK, this could prevent 6,000 deaths a year and save more than £700million which would otherwise have been spent on healthcare.
But it could hike the price of red meat like mince and steak by 14 per cent, and the cost of processed meat like bacon and burgers by 79 per cent, the MailOnline reported.
Oxford University researchers said eating red and processed meat kills 2.4million people a year and costs the global economy £219billion.
They acknowledged “no-one wants governments to tell people what they can eat” but cutting down red meat would be better for human health and for the earth.
Lead researcher Dr Marco Springmann said: “The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high and middle-income countries.
“This is having significant impacts not only on personal health, but also on healthcare systems, which are taxpayer-funded in many countries, and on the economy, which is losing its labour force due to ill health and care for family members who fall ill.
“I hope governments will consider introducing a health levy on red and processed meat to make healthy and sustainable decision-making easier for consumers.
“A health levy on red and processed meat would not limit choices, but send a powerful signal to consumers and take pressure off our healthcare systems.”
The size of the meat tax would vary in different countries around the world, depending on how much meat they eat and how much it costs to buy.
The study estimated a tax could reduce the intake of processed meat like bacon and sausages by around two portions a week in high-income countries.