Since its recent onset, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the daily lives of millions around the world. One area particularly affected is our diets, with food supply chain disruptions, media coverage of food safety issues and restaurant closures all influencing consumer dietary behaviour. Given this situation, we pose a timely question – what is the impact of the current pandemic on longer-term meat consumption patterns? This issue is pertinent given accumulating evidence that overconsumption of meat, particularly red meat, is associated with negative environmental and health outcomes. Here, we discuss how the current pandemic has already begun to shift public awareness of illnesses linked to animals and has resulted in short-term changes in patterns of meat consumption. Past zoonotic outbreaks, such as SARS and swine flu, are also referred to, and we find that these led to similar short-term reductions in meat intake, a shift in the type of meat chosen and longer-lasting impacts on consumer perceptions of the health risks associated with meat. We conclude that, if immediate changes in eating patterns as a result of COVID-19 are retained in the longer term, one possible opportunity to emerge from the current pandemic may be a shift away from overconsumption of meat, leading to potential health and environmental benefits in the longer term.