The tax has already had an effect, with some leading brands reducing the sugar content in their products to avoid the levy.
With growing evidence of the health and environmental damage resulting from red meat, some experts now believe a "sin tax" on beef, lamb and pork is inevitable in the longer term.
'However, our findings make it clear that the consumption of red and processed meat has a cost, not just to people's health and to the planet, but also to the healthcare systems and the economy'.
The numbers are based on evidence that links meat consumption to increased risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
Dr Marco Springmann, of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the Nuffield Department of Population Health, who worked on the study, said: "The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high- and middle-income countries".
The study suggested a tax of 20% on unprocessed red meat and 110% on processed products, with lower taxes in less wealthy nations, would cause fewer deaths and raise almost €150 billion, and save money for health services.
Researchers say a meat tax could reduce consumption of processed meat by about two portions per week in high-income countries. This would lead to a $41bn saving in annual healthcare costs, the research shows.
As a result, consumption of unprocessed meat was predicted to remain unchanged by 2020. "Bacon is really one of the unhealthiest food products that is out there".
'Nobody wants governments to tell people what they can and can't eat.
Christopher Snowdon, from the Institute for Economic Affairs, said taxing food was "the next battleground for the nanny state". That would amount to a reduction in the number of deaths attributed to eating meat of 15.6%.
A study has found meat taxes could save an estimated 220,000 lives globally by 2020 and reduce healthcare costs by £30.7bn.
Media captionDr Marco Springmann tells Today eating only one portion of red meat a week could help tackle global warming How could a tax work? To cover the total healthcare costs, the tax rates would need to be hiked up again to about double the optimal taxation rates.
Scientists wanted to calculate the level of tax that would be required to make up for healthcare costs associated with eating meat in 149 regions around the world.
In the USA, the tax resulted in red meat costing 34% more and the price of processed meat soaring by 163%.
They also estimated the likely impact of a meat tax on death rates due to chronic disease.
But should politicians be telling people what they can and can't eat?
Globally the benefits of a meat tax included a 16% reduction in processed meat consumption, and the prevention of 222,000 deaths from cancer, heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. "Problem is that they might switch to something even more unhealthy, especially if they're poor".
For the United Kingdom alone, an effective meat tax that offset healthcare costs would prevent 5,920 deaths per year, amounting to a reduction of 15.6 per cent in the number of deaths attributed to eating meat, according to the study.
She said other measures would be needed too, including looking at menus in workplaces and schools, as well as raising public awareness: "If we look at the significant cultural shift on smoking over the last decade or so, communication of the science was central to those changes".