The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by reusability, recyclability, light weight, and convenience, and growing importance of technologies such as bio-degradable packaging, circular economy, and shrink wrapping. 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: plastic recycling. Buy the report here.
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
Plastic recycling is a key innovation area in packaging
Plastic recycling is the process of converting plastic waste into new products. The process is highly beneficial as it can reduce the dependence on landfill, conserve resources, and protect the environment from plastic pollution along with greenhouse gas emissions.
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 110+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of plastic recycling.
Key players in plastic recycling – 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 plastic recycling
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Krones is the leading patent filer in plastic recycling. Some other key patent filers in resealable packaging include Saperatec, Procter & Gamble, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, and Mankiewicz. Recently, Procter & Gamble India announced that it has become “plastic waste neutral” during April 2021–March 2022. The company said it has processed more than 19,000MT of post-consumer plastic packaging waste from across the country.
Coca-Cola leads the pack in terms of application diversity. E. Khashoggi Industries, and Colgate-Palmolive stand in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, both Smart Planet Technologies and Saperatec hold the top position followed by Avient and Mankiewicz.
Recycling plastic will be of paramount importance in the coming years as companies and consumers alike make efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner and greener environment.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Packaging.