The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by recyclability, durability, transparency, and extended shelf life, and growing importance of technologies such as shrink wrapping, smart packaging, 3D printing, and computer aided design. 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: biodegradable packaging films. Buy the report here.

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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

Biodegradable packaging films is a key innovation area in packaging

Biodegradable packaging films refer to the films or materials used for packaging that can break down and decompose into natural components in the environment without causing harm. These films are typically made from natural materials such as starch, cellulose, and various biodegradable polymers and can be used for various packaging applications, including food packaging and consumer goods.

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 biodegradable packaging films.

Key players in biodegradable packaging films – 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 packaging films

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Novamont 70 Unlock Company Profile
Polymateria 36 Unlock Company Profile
TIPA 29 Unlock Company Profile
CCL Industries 18 Unlock Company Profile
Corbion 16 Unlock Company Profile
Huhtamaki 16 Unlock Company Profile
SPC Sunflower Plastic Compound 16 Unlock Company Profile
Danimer Scientific 13 Unlock Company Profile
Finlav 10 Unlock Company Profile
Tongling Founder Plastics Technology 9 Unlock Company Profile
Biotec Biologische Naturverpackungen 9 Unlock Company Profile
Illinois Tool Works 8 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo Seikan Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
SoluBlue 7 Unlock Company Profile
Idemitsu Kosan 6 Unlock Company Profile
Biome Technologies 6 Unlock Company Profile
Biofiba 5 Unlock Company Profile
Stora Enso 5 Unlock Company Profile
3M 5 Unlock Company Profile
Kaneka 5 Unlock Company Profile
Dissolve 4 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 4 Unlock Company Profile
S K C 3 Unlock Company Profile
Daiwa Securities Group 3 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Agriculture 3 Unlock Company Profile
Government of South Korea 3 Unlock Company Profile
Youlchon Chemical 3 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 2 Unlock Company Profile
China Tobacco International HK 2 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Dingli Packaging 2 Unlock Company Profile
Biofiba Innovations 2 Unlock Company Profile
Double Double D 2 Unlock Company Profile
The Green 2 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Mengniu Color Printing Packaging 2 Unlock Company Profile
M2i Life Sciences 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kwik Lok 2 Unlock Company Profile
Univerzita Tomase Bati ve Zline 2 Unlock Company Profile
Hefei Zhenxun Low Temperature Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hefei Puerfei Wire Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hefei Fengteng Energy Saving Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Hefei Rende Electronic Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Kingfa Science and Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Jieshou Huasheng Plastic Machinery 1 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Vivotide Biotechnologies 1 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Throughput 1 Unlock Company Profile
TOS 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Chaohu South Membrane Industry 1 Unlock Company Profile
Daohe Biotechnology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Yueerwei Plastic Machinery 1 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Songtai Packaging Materials 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Novamont is one of the leading patent filers in biodegradable packaging films. Some other key patent filers in the space include Polymateria, TIPA, CCL Industries, Corbion, and Huhtamaki. CCL Industries, a leading patent filer, announced the investment of $70m to expand its films capacity in Germany. With this investment, the company plans to produce sustainable films with low resin content.

In terms of application diversity, TIPA leads the pack, while CCL Industries and 3M stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, TIPA held the top position, followed by CCL Industries and Polymateria.

The demand for biodegradable packaging films will be stimulated by their ability to provide effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly packaging solutions that meet the evolving needs of consumers, businesses, and regulatory bodies concerned about the planet's well-being. To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 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.