The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increasing environmental awareness, urbanisation, sustainability, and convenience, and growing importance of technologies such as sustainable/eco-friendly 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 Internet of Things in Packaging: Synthetic Resin Containers.

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. 

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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, automated mixers and dispensers, shipment tracking and authentication, and autonomous vehicles for warehousing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Automated bundling tools, and mechanically actuated dispenser packaging 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 

Synthetic resin containers is a key innovation area in Internet of Things 

Synthetic resin containers can be used for various purposes, one such use being able to block incident light of particular wavelength. In addition to this, these containers help in meeting environmental goals as they provide recycling opportunities. 

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 synthetic resin containers. 

Key players in synthetic resin containers – 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 synthetic resin containers

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Yoshino Kogyosho 202 Unlock Company Profile
Amcor 200 Unlock Company Profile
O-I Glass 135 Unlock Company Profile
IFCO Systems 109 Unlock Company Profile
Rehrig Pacific Company 105 Unlock Company Profile
Reynolds Group Holdings 90 Unlock Company Profile
Kotobuki Realty 84 Unlock Company Profile
Schoeller Arca Systems 70 Unlock Company Profile
Sidel International 68 Unlock Company Profile
Procter & Gamble 59 Unlock Company Profile
Bellcave 59 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 56 Unlock Company Profile
Niagara Bottling 46 Unlock Company Profile
Coca-Cola Enterprises Great Britain 40 Unlock Company Profile
Plastipak Holdings 39 Unlock Company Profile
Nissei Asb Machine 36 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo Seikan Group Holdings 34 Unlock Company Profile
DS Smith 32 Unlock Company Profile
Krones 30 Unlock Company Profile
Constar International 29 Unlock Company Profile
Danone 26 Unlock Company Profile
Imperial Brands 25 Unlock Company Profile
Kao 20 Unlock Company Profile
European Molecular Biology Laboratory 18 Unlock Company Profile
Kraft Heinz 18 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 17 Unlock Company Profile
SGS 17 Unlock Company Profile
Royal Unibrew 17 Unlock Company Profile
Loews 16 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 14 Unlock Company Profile
Ecolab 14 Unlock Company Profile
Sipa Progettazione Automaz 14 Unlock Company Profile
Cargill 14 Unlock Company Profile
Orbis Canada 14 Unlock Company Profile
Delbrouck 12 Unlock Company Profile
Ball 12 Unlock Company Profile
Packaging Finance 12 Unlock Company Profile
Colgate-Palmolive 11 Unlock Company Profile
Hillenbrand 11 Unlock Company Profile
Envases (UK) 11 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 10 Unlock Company Profile
Mid-America Machining 9 Unlock Company Profile
Co2 Pac 9 Unlock Company Profile
Uniloy 8 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 8 Unlock Company Profile
Arkema 8 Unlock Company Profile
Saint-Gobain Oberland 8 Unlock Company Profile
Op-Hygiene Ip 8 Unlock Company Profile
Resilux 7 Unlock Company Profile
Lumson 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Yoshino Kogyosho is one of the leading patent filers in synthetic resin containers. Some other key patent filers in the space include Amcor, O-I Glass, and IFCO Systems. 

Amcor recently introduced the DairySeal™ line of packaging featuring ClearCor™, an advanced polyethylene terephthalate (PET) barrier. The introduction of DairySeal will help dairy alternatives, nutritional, and ready-to-drink (RTD) market to have a more sustainable packaging solution that can be used across all retail channels. 

In terms of application diversity, European Molecular Biology Laboratory leads the pack, while L'Oreal and Saint-Gobain Oberland stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, IFCO Systems held the top position, followed by Cargill and Royal Unibrew

Synthetic resin containers will potentially become the approach favoured by many future packaging players. The importance of the technology can be observed today by looking at the latest innovations and research by key players in the field. 

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.

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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.