The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by convenience, experience seekers, and multipurpose suitability, and the growing importance of technologies, such as near-field communication, Internet of 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 Innovation in Packaging: Multi-pack shrink wrapping.

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, oxygen-blocking laminate packaging, web dispensers for rotary baggage wrappers, and multilayer laminated packaging, are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Water-soluble packaging films, cartridge-type beverage dispensers, and medical syringe packaging are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are detachable drawer-and-shell type containers and barrier-coated containers, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the packaging industry

Multi-pack shrink wrapping is a key innovation area in packaging

Shrink wrap bundling is the process of making a pack of multiple items or products. It enjoys the advantage of affordability; hence it is considered as a popular choice compared to other packaging materials. Shrink wrap takes minimal space, and keeps bundled items close together without the need for additional bulky materials.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of multi-pack shrink wrapping.

Key players in multi-pack shrink wrapping – 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 multi-pack shrink wrapping

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Graphic Packaging Holding 2246 Unlock company profile
Barry-Wehmiller Companies 29 Unlock company profile
Mondelez International 24 Unlock company profile
Westrock 22 Unlock company profile
LBP Manufacturing 22 Unlock company profile
Kimberly-Clark 21 Unlock company profile
Colgate-Palmolive 18 Unlock company profile
International Paper 15 Unlock company profile
O-I Glass 15 Unlock company profile
Ferrero International 12 Unlock company profile
Merck & Co 12 Unlock company profile
EoL Packaging Experts 11 Unlock company profile
DS Smith 11 Unlock company profile
A&R Carton Bremen 10 Unlock company profile
Onex 10 Unlock company profile
Krones 8 Unlock company profile
Kraft Heinz 8 Unlock company profile
Adalis 7 Unlock company profile
TECMA pack 7 Unlock company profile
Wanfried-Druck Kalden 5 Unlock company profile
Mars 5 Unlock company profile
ams 5 Unlock company profile
Altria Group 5 Unlock company profile
Karl Knauer 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Graphic Packaging Holding is one of the leading patent filers in multi-pack shrink wrapping. Some other key patent filers in multi-pack shrink wrapping include Barry-Wehmiller Companies, Mondelez International, Westrock, and LBP Manufacturing.

Mars leads the pack in terms of application diversity, while Krones and Altria Group stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Adalis held the top position, followed by Colgate-Palmolive and Mars.

Multi-pack shrink wrapping gives the company advantage of increased storage space in warehouses, is lightweight, protects against environmental damage, and provides a cost-efficient option. Hence, it would be an essential part of the packaging industry in the coming years.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 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.