Some investors are betting governments around the world will find a way to start taxing meat production as they aim to improve public health and hit emissions targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement. Socially-focused investors are starting to push companies to diversify into plant protein.

Meat could encounter the same fate as tobacco, carbon and sugar, which are currently taxed in 180, 60 and 25 jurisdictions around the world respectively, according to a report from investor group the FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) Initiative.

Mimicking the levy on sugar and alcohol would help to limit the impact of soaring global consumption, which has been linked to damage to the environment and human health.

In Germany there were calls last year from the country's federal environment agency to raise the tax on animal products from 7 per cent to 19 per cent. That would have hit everyday products such as sausages, eggs and cheese, significantly raising costs for consumers.

Elsewhere in Denmark, Sweden and China lawmakers have discussed creating livestock-related taxes in the past two years, though the idea is encountering strong resistance.

Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock are about 14.5 per cent of the world's total, according to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), which projects global meat consumption to increase 73 per cent by mid-century, amid growing demand from economies like India and China. That could result in as much as $1.6 trillion in health and environmental costs for the global economy by 2050, according to FAIRR, a London-based initiative.

"Investors are starting to consider this in a similar way to how they have considered climate risk." said Rosie Wardle, who manages investor engagements at FAIRR. "It's kind of accepted now that we need to address livestock production and consumption to meet that 2 degree global warming limit."

FAIRR's sustainable protein engagement plan, currently supported by 57 investors with $2.3 trillion under management, plans to ask 16 major food multinational this year to "future proof" their supply chains by diversifying their protein sources.

The possible impact of a meat tax could be similar to sugar taxes. While sugar taxes aimed at fighting obesity in the U.S. have faced some resistance, similar levies have been implemented in 18 countries and six U.S. cities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.

The idea of taxing meat has been hamstrung by fears of creating a political backlash by taxing farmers, FAIRR said in the report.

Plant protein, however, is already capturing a sizable amount of demand for protein, pushed partially by millenials and a trend toward incorporating more vegetarian food into western diets.

"Test-tube" or "Frankenstein" burgers made from industrially produced artificial meat using stem cell technology is already available. That allows vegetarians to tuck into a hearty meal of "meat and two veg" without having to compromise their ethics.

You would have thought that vegetarians got enough pleasure from eating Quorn, that brand of imitation meat made from a mycoprotein that is extracted from a fungus grown on an industrial scale in large vats

I can understand why many vegetarians yearn for the taste and texture of meat, and still find the smell of a bacon roll irresistible. Pulses like peas, beans and lentils may well be a good source of protein in "so-called" healthy diet, but in my opinion lack that satisfying something extra that meat offers. Then there is tofu, that cheese-like protein food made from curdled soybean milk.

I am one of those who loves most kinds of meat and fish. There's nothing I like better than tucking into a Sunday roast with family and friends. It doesn't matter too much to me whether it is beef, lamb, pork or chicken.

When meat is roasting, the air of anticipation among the family becomes ever more palpable as the kitchen fills with the heady aroma of the treat to come.

I accept that eating excessive amounts of red meat may not be good for you, but as with all thing related to a healthy diet, "a little bit of everything in moderation" is probably the best principle. Certainly, to exclude meat from a diet, as vegetarians do, is to deny the obvious fact that humans are omnivorous and have canine teeth to help them eat the meat that they need.

Suffice to say, it's a free world and I won't try to stop vegetarians from tucking into their pulses, Quorn, tofu or "Frankenstein burgers". Similarly I expect to be allowed to continue to enjoy eating meat without any hindrance and will strongly resist moves to tax it.