The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by rising environmental awareness, safety & trust, digitisation and growing importance of technologies, such as near-field communication, active packaging and bio-degradable 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 Internet of Things in Packaging: RFID-integrated packaging.

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 stabilising 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.

80+ 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 87,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, autonomous vehicles for warehousing, shipment tracking and authentication, and automated mixers and dispensers are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Mechanically actuated dispenser packaging and automated bundling tools are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are automated tissue dispenser and dosage metering type vials, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the packaging industry

RFID-integrated packaging is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is being increasingly involved in the packaging industry to streamline the entire packaging process through the help of a unique chip that processes information, such as the number of units and the location. This ensures that the necessary data is always available to the companies whenever required. It involves the use of RFID chips and ports.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of RFID-integrated packaging.

Key players in RFID-integrated packaging – 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 RFID-integrated packaging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
FedEx 51 Unlock company profile
Toyo Seikan Group Holdings 45 Unlock company profile
Toppan 29 Unlock company profile
Avery Dennison 20 Unlock company profile
Ensurge Micropower 17 Unlock company profile
Imperial Brands 16 Unlock company profile
Verimatrix 15 Unlock company profile
PepsiCo 12 Unlock company profile
WISeKey - Assets - US 10 Unlock company profile
Amcor 9 Unlock company profile
CupClub 8 Unlock company profile
Cerberus Capital Management 7 Unlock company profile
Onex 7 Unlock company profile
Focke & Co 7 Unlock company profile
Murata Manufacturing 6 Unlock company profile
B&G Plastics 6 Unlock company profile
CEA 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

FedEx is one of the leading patent filers in RFID-integrated packaging. In August 2022, FedEx announced that it would expand its partnership with robotics company, Berkshire Gray, to deploy the company’s Robotic Product Sortation and Identification (RPSi) system in more of its facilities, and help improve the safety and efficiency of FedEx package handling operations globally. Some other key patent filers in RFID-integrated packaging include Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Toppan, Avery Dennison, and Ensurge Micropower.

FedEx leads the pack in terms of application diversity. Onex and Focke stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Imperial Brands held the top position, followed by B&G Plastics and Verimatrix.

Leading companies, in coming years, will increasingly leverage the power of technology to improve their overall package handling operations globally, thus significantly improving the overall supply chain efficiencies.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Packaging.


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.