The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increasing environmental awareness, sustainability, and convenience, and the growing importance of technologies, such as biodegradable packaging, Internet of Packaging, and active packaging. In the last three years alone, there have been over 310,000 patents filed and granted in the packaging industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Direct-to-consumer in Packaging: Capsules/pods for beverages.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 87,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the packaging industry, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future.

Capsules/pods for beverages is a key innovation area in direct-to-consumer

A pod refers to tea or coffee that is sealed in filter paper. It has a round and flat shape and is either packed loose inside a resealable bag or wrapped in foil. Pods differ from capsules in the manner that they contain 7gm of coffee as against capsules’ 5gm. This makes the coffee extracted from pods to be more full-bodied. Moreover, pods are easily recyclable thereby making them environmentally friendly. 

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 capsules/pods for beverages. 

Key players in capsules/pods for beverages – a disruptive innovation in the packaging industry  

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators. 

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to capsules/pods for beverages

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nestle 1590 Unlock company profile
JDE Peet's 676 Unlock company profile
K Fee System 436 Unlock company profile
Freezio 274 Unlock company profile
Philip Morris International 259 Unlock company profile
Kraft Heinz 257 Unlock company profile
Unilever 238 Unlock company profile
Japan Tobacco 122 Unlock company profile
Tyson Foods 118 Unlock company profile
SARONG 94 Unlock company profile
Caffitaly System 83 Unlock company profile
British American Tobacco 82 Unlock company profile
Keurig Dr Pepper 79 Unlock company profile
American Securities 78 Unlock company profile
QBO Coffee 59 Unlock company profile
Gruppo illy 56 Unlock company profile
Finlav 46 Unlock company profile
Focke & Co 44 Unlock company profile
Coesia 41 Unlock company profile
Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund 41 Unlock company profile
PepsiCo 41 Unlock company profile
Melitta Single Portions 36 Unlock company profile
Goglio 35 Unlock company profile
Mars 34 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 34 Unlock company profile
Coca-Cola Enterprises Great Britain 32 Unlock company profile
MDS Global Holding 30 Unlock company profile
Hausbrandt Trieste 1892 29 Unlock company profile
Altria Group 27 Unlock company profile
Mitaca S.r.l. 27 Unlock company profile
MULTISORB TECHNOLOGIES 26 Unlock company profile
Mondelez International 25 Unlock company profile
LBP Manufacturing 25 Unlock company profile
Starbucks 23 Unlock company profile
Kruger 23 Unlock company profile
Touch Coffee & Beverages 22 Unlock company profile
Ethical Coffee Company 20 Unlock company profile
SO.FI.M.A. Societa Finanziaria Macchine Automatiche 20 Unlock company profile
Caffita System 16 Unlock company profile
Keurig 16 Unlock company profile
Lukad Holding 15 Unlock company profile
E. Merck 13 Unlock company profile
Berry Global Group 12 Unlock company profile
Anheuser-Busch InBev 12 Unlock company profile
Whirlpool 11 Unlock company profile
Swiss Caffe Asia 11 Unlock company profile
Sigma Phase 10 Unlock company profile
Coca Tech 9 Unlock company profile
Luna Technology Systems 9 Unlock company profile
Ahlstrom-Munksjo 8 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nestlé is one of the leading patent filers in capsules/pods for beverages. Nespresso Australia recently introduced a range of home-designed customised pods. The new coffee blends, namely Bianco Doppio, Bianco Forte, and Bianco Piccolo, are inspired by Australian tastes. The new range is compatible with the Vertuo Next coffee machine. 

Some other key patent filers in the capsules/pods for beverages space include JDE Peet's, K Fee System, and Freezio

In terms of application diversity, Anheuser-Busch InBev leads the pack, while Ahlstrom-Munksjo and Freezio stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Unilever held the top position, followed by PepsiCo and American Securities

Capsules/pods for beverages will potentially become an important aspect in the packaging industry. With consumers seeking better consumption experiences and recyclable products, this packaging format will gain popularity. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Top Themes in Packaging 2022

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.