The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by healthy living, experience seekers, multipurpose stability, sustainability, and the growing importance of technologies, such as Bluetooth-low energy and the Internet of 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: Starch biopolymer paperboards.

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, web dispensers for rotary baggage wrappers, multilayer laminated packaging, and oxygen-blocking laminate 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

Starch biopolymer paperboards is a key innovation area in packaging

Starch-based biopolymer paperboards hold high potential as a sustainable alternative for paper and paperboard packaging as they exhibit uniform, defect-free surface morphology along with their biodegradable nature.

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of starch biopolymer paperboards.

Key players in starch biopolymer paperboards – 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 starch biopolymer paperboards

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Stora Enso 225 Unlock company profile
delfortgroup 45 Unlock company profile
FiberLean Technologies 43 Unlock company profile
BillerudKorsnas 42 Unlock company profile
Kemira 41 Unlock company profile
Ashland 31 Unlock company profile
Akzo Nobel 30 Unlock company profile
Daikin Industries 22 Unlock company profile
Omya International 22 Unlock company profile
RPM International 20 Unlock company profile
Solenis Technologies 19 Unlock company profile
Yagna 19 Unlock company profile
AGC 19 Unlock company profile
Mativ Holdings 18 Unlock company profile
Dow 18 Unlock company profile
International Paper 17 Unlock company profile
Graphic Packaging Holding 17 Unlock company profile
Kuraray 17 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi HiTec Paper Europe 16 Unlock company profile
Japan Tobacco 15 Unlock company profile
Kimberly-Clark 14 Unlock company profile
Oji Holdings 14 Unlock company profile
Procter & Gamble 14 Unlock company profile
Ecoinno (H.K.) 13 Unlock company profile
Huhtamaki 13 Unlock company profile
Humanitarian Scientific 12 Unlock company profile
Mondi 11 Unlock company profile
Klabin 9 Unlock company profile
Ecolab 9 Unlock company profile
Arjowiggins Healthcare 9 Unlock company profile
Anheuser-Busch InBev 8 Unlock company profile
Tetra Laval International 8 Unlock company profile
Philip Morris International 8 Unlock company profile
Clariant 8 Unlock company profile
InnoGEL 8 Unlock company profile
UPM-Kymmene 8 Unlock company profile
Bk Giulini 7 Unlock company profile
SCA Forest Products 7 Unlock company profile
Visy Industries Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Mudanjiang Hengfeng Paper 6 Unlock company profile
China Tobacco International HK 6 Unlock company profile
OneWorld Packaging 6 Unlock company profile
Nordkalk 6 Unlock company profile
Youyuan International Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Cargill 5 Unlock company profile
China Tobacco Yunnan Industrial 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Stora Enso is one of the leading patent filers in starch biopolymer paperboards. Recently, Huhtamaki, a Finnish consumer packaging company, and Stora Enso partnered to launch a new paper cup recycling initiative, “The Cup Collective”. The programme, the first of its kind in Europe, aims to recycle and capture the value of used paper cups on an industrial scale.

Some other key patent filers in starch biopolymer paperboards include Delfortgroup, Unicharm, FiberLean Technologies, and BillerudKorsnas.

Clariant leads the pack in terms of application diversity, followed by OneWorld Packaging and SCA Forest Products in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Yagna held the top position, followed by Japan Tobacco and Ashland.

Paper based packaging solutions will be sought after in the coming years as consumers become increasingly aware of the negative effects of plastic-based packaging and companies innovate their packaging to attract the target consumers.

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.