The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by customization, convenience, ease to carry, high shelf life, and visual appeal, and growing importance of technologies such as nanotechnology, circular economy, RFID technology, and blockchain. In the last three years alone, there have been over 427,000 patents filed and granted in the packaging industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in packaging: beverage capsules. Buy the report here.
However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.
30+ innovations will shape the packaging industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the packaging industry using innovation intensity models built on over 77,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, cellulose fiber 3D printing, biodegradable packaging films, and multilayer barrier films are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. RFID packaging, anti-counterfeiting bottle caps, and clamshell-type packaging are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are resealable medication vials and synthetic resin containers, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the packaging industry
Beverage capsules is a key innovation area in packaging
Beverage capsules are pre-packaged containers that enclose a beverage ingredient, such as coffee beans, tea leaves or powdered milk, which can be used with a machine that processes the contents of the capsule to produce a single serving of a beverage such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or other customized beverages.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of beverage capsules.
Key players in beverage capsules – a disruptive innovation in the packaging industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to beverage capsules
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Nestlé is one of the leading patent filers in beverage capsule. Nestlé introduced compostable paper-based capsule, for at-home consumption, in France and Switzerland in 2022. The product is claimed to have biopolymer lining, which protects it from oxidization. Some other key patent filers in the space include JDE Peet’s, Freezio, Philip Morris International, Kruger, and Unilever.
In terms of application diversity, Ahlstrom-Munksjo leads the pack, while Anheuser-Busch InBev and Freezio stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Unilever held the top position, followed by Freezio and Tyson Foods.
Beverage capsule will gain appeal among consumers seeking convenience, quality, and customization in their beverage experiences. Moreover, as long as beverage capsule companies continue to innovate, enhance sustainability efforts, and provide high-quality and convenient products, they are likely to remain popular.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Packaging.