The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by rising environmental awareness, safety & trust, digitization, 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 427,000 patents filed and granted in the packaging industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in packaging: RFID packaging. 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
RFID packaging is a key innovation area in packaging
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 50 companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of RFID packaging.
Key players in RFID packaging – 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 RFID packaging
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
FedEx is the leading patent filer in RFID packaging. In August 2022, FedEx expanded 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.
Plastipak Holdings leads the pack in terms of application diversity. Lumson and FedEx stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, FedEx holds the top position, followed by Imperial Brands and PepsiCo.
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 Packaging.