The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven around increasing the shelf life of the product, automation, and recyclability, and the growing importance of technologies, such as biodegradable packaging, Internet of Things, and active packaging. 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 Environmental sustainability in packaging: biodegradeable food packaging.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 77,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the packaging industry, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

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Biodegradable food packaging is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Biodegradable packaging is easier to recycle, as it is made from eco-friendly materials. They cause less carbon emission thereby reducing climate change. Moreover, they are produced using less energy and are non-toxic in nature. Despite having its own advantages over plastic, biodegradable packaging has some limitations too. 

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 160+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of biodegradable food packaging. 

Key players in biodegradable food packaging – 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 biodegradable food packaging

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huhtamaki 63 Unlock Company Profile
Polymateria 34 Unlock Company Profile
Zume 34 Unlock Company Profile
Gruppo illy 30 Unlock Company Profile
The Clorox 24 Unlock Company Profile
Better Life Pharmaceuticals 23 Unlock Company Profile
Theca-Cola 21 Unlock Company Profile
RPM International 20 Unlock Company Profile
Filtration Group 19 Unlock Company Profile
Stora Enso 18 Unlock Company Profile
Corbion 16 Unlock Company Profile
Finlav 16 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 16 Unlock Company Profile
Coswell 15 Unlock Company Profile
Goglio 14 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 13 Unlock Company Profile
Kikkoman 12 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 12 Unlock Company Profile
DIC 11 Unlock Company Profile
Novadelta - Comercio E Industria De Cafes 10 Unlock Company Profile
Zume Pizza 9 Unlock Company Profile
Toyobo 9 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 9 Unlock Company Profile
A&R Carton 8 Unlock Company Profile
LG 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sphere 7 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 7 Unlock Company Profile
CJ 7 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President Enterprises 7 Unlock Company Profile
Benny restaurant 7 Unlock Company Profile
LOLIWARE 7 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Chaohu South Membrane Industry 6 Unlock Company Profile
Plantics BV 6 Unlock Company Profile
Vegeplast 6 Unlock Company Profile
Youlchon Chemical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Maruha Nichiro 5 Unlock Company Profile
BIOP Biopolymer Technologies 5 Unlock Company Profile
Novolex 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sonoco Products 5 Unlock Company Profile
Crisp Sensation 4 Unlock Company Profile
Maikon No Kohara 4 Unlock Company Profile
Chengdu New Keli Chemical Science 4 Unlock Company Profile
Graphic Packaging 4 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Shuntong Packaging Material 4 Unlock Company Profile
Silbo 4 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 4 Unlock Company Profile
Pacovis 3 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Bec Biological Technology 3 Unlock Company Profile
Kiefel 3 Unlock Company Profile
Novamont 3 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Huhtamaki is the leading patent filer in biodegradable food packaging. Huhtamaki launched ICON packaging, an innovative technology, which was initially used for ice cream containers and lids. This technology facilitates recycling in communities across the US that have a paper product recycling program. 

Some of the other key patent filers in the biodegradable food packaging space include Zume, Polymateria, and Gruppo illy. 

In terms of application diversity, Kuraray leads the pack, while A&R Carton and Better Life Pharmaceuticals stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Polymateria Limited holds the top position, followed by Gruppo illy and Better Life Pharmaceuticals. 

With rising consumer awareness pertaining to environmental protection and the impact of packaging materials, biodegradable packaging will potentially become an important aspect in the packaging industry. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Packaging.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.