According to a new report by research company Fitch Solutions, taxes on red meat may be implemented in the near future in hope to decrease meat appetite.
The company suggested that governments may leverage on this demand for sustainability by bringing forward strict environmental regulations for production.
Global Meat Taxes: Could this Become a Reality?
New research done by the company predicts that this type of tax could go global due to health, ethical, and environmental, concerns. Fitch explains that the global increase of taxes on sugar eases the similar wave of regulation in the meat industry.
Last week, a cross-party coalition of German politicians proposed hiking the tax VAT on meat from 7 to 19 percent hoping to reduce consumption.
Similarly to sugar, red meat has been associated with higher chance of heart illness, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, which according to Fitch, began the groundwork for this type of taxes.
According to a study done by the University of Oxford, this measure could help avert almost 6000 deaths on a yearly basis and save around $850 in healthcare costs.
Meat taxes could appear as a policy sibling to the taxes on sugar with the support that meat is important for a balanced diet; however, its overconsumption is a major health problem.
But, unlike with sugar, the reasons for the restrictions on our meat consumption aren’t just health-related. Overconsumption of meat has been linked with deforestation, climate change, and ethical issues.
A UN report concluded that the human food system is responsible for 37 percent of the greenhouse emissions. Meat production, particularly of red meat, is to blame. In a 2011 study, it was discovered that lamb and beef are the two major culprits.
Consequently, many people are transitioning to meat-free diets and this has led to an increase in meat alternatives. One such example is the Beyond Meat Company which is noting huge success.
Going Vegetarian or Vegan: More than a Trend?
Consumers are already reducing or excluding red meat from their diets and going vegetarian or vegan. The main drivers of diets free of meat are younger and urbanized consumers.
A tax on meat could be of huge aid in speeding up this important trend and would additionally encourage people to at least lower their red meat intake and consume more plant-based protein.
How Far Could this Tax Spread?
Sugar taxes have successfully spread worldwide, including Mexico, Dubai, and UK with high 50 percent tax.
A tax on meat could also help increase the prices to the extent where the consumption would drop.
The WHO explains that taxes which increase the price of sugar-rich drinks by 20 percent lower consumption by approximately the same amount.
If the taxes on red meat successfully minimize the global meat appetite, the decrease in carbon emissions could be major.