Alcohol tax, sugar tax... meat tax? We could be seeing further food and drink taxation down the road, according to new research.
Reading the news today it looks possible, especially with academics quoted in national newspapers saying it is "inevitable" that a red meat tax will come into force.
The fresh study on red meat taxation, by the University of Oxford, assessed the tax needed to reflect the healthcare costs of eating red meat. It discovered a 20 per cent tax on unprocessed red meat and a 110 per cent tax on the most harmful processed products would cut annual deaths by 220,000 and raise £130bn across developed nations.
The lead scientist on the study, Marco Springmann, said that bacon was "really one of the unhealthiest food products out there".
The study also claimed that the higher prices of red meat would cut meat consumption by two portions a week, leading to a multi-billion healthcare saving.
The research follows a report in 2015 by the University of Glasgow and Chatham House which revealed the general public weren't against taxing meat, once the reasons behind it – both health wise and environmental – were explained. Also, the same year, the World Health Organisation classified red meat as a carcinogen.
But what does this mean for pubs? Well, it could well be another cost to absorb on already rising food prices. Maybe we are getting ahead of ourselves though. It is certainly worth looking at your menu and considering whether there is potential to diversify ingredients – although, let's face it, steak and chips isn't going to be coming off the menu any time soon.
The truth is the most likely outcome is a change in public perception of meat, rather than tax. If the issue continues to gain column inches in newspapers, chances are that a long term decline in red meat eating could well occur, although there are few signs of that yet.
Watch this space...but keep the grill fired up for the time being.