The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by smart packaging, light weight, convenience, and ease of handling and growing importance of technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and nano technology. 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: synthetic resin containers. Buy the report here.

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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

Synthetic resin containers is a key emerging innovation area in packaging

Synthetic resin containers refer to a type of plastic container made from a synthetic resin material such as polypropylene or ethylene vinyl alsohol (EVOH). These containers are widely used for storing various products due to their lightweight, durability, and low cost.

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 130 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 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 synthetic resin containers

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Yoshino Kogyosho 214 Unlock Company Profile
Amcor 209 Unlock Company Profile
O-I Glass 140 Unlock Company Profile
Rehrig Pacific 119 Unlock Company Profile
IFCO Systems 104 Unlock Company Profile
Reynolds Group 92 Unlock Company Profile
Kotobuki Realty 82 Unlock Company Profile
Procter & Gamble 82 Unlock Company Profile
Sidel International 72 Unlock Company Profile
Schoeller Arca Systems 61 Unlock Company Profile
Bellcave 59 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 57 Unlock Company Profile
Schoeller Packaging 54 Unlock Company Profile
Niagara Bottling 49 Unlock Company Profile
Nissei Asb Machine 47 Unlock Company Profile
Danone 46 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo Seikan Group 43 Unlock Company Profile
Theca-Cola 43 Unlock Company Profile
Plastipak 40 Unlock Company Profile
Krones 30 Unlock Company Profile
Constar International 29 Unlock Company Profile
DS Smith 28 Unlock Company Profile
Imperial Brands 25 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 21 Unlock Company Profile
Kao 20 Unlock Company Profile
The Kraft Heinz 18 Unlock Company Profile
SGS 18 Unlock Company Profile
Loews 18 Unlock Company Profile
European Molecular Biology Laboratory 18 Unlock Company Profile
Cargill 17 Unlock Company Profile
Sipa Progettazione Automaz 16 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 16 Unlock Company Profile
Ecolab 15 Unlock Company Profile
Royal Unibrew 15 Unlock Company Profile
Colgate-Palmolive 14 Unlock Company Profile
Orbis Canada 14 Unlock Company Profile
Ball 12 Unlock Company Profile
Packaging Finance 12 Unlock Company Profile
Hillenbrand 11 Unlock Company Profile
Henkel 11 Unlock Company Profile
Uniloy 11 Unlock Company Profile
Horizon Intermediate 11 Unlock Company Profile
Delbrouck 11 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 11 Unlock Company Profile
Envases (UK) 11 Unlock Company Profile
Op-Hygiene Ip 10 Unlock Company Profile
Tupperware Brands 10 Unlock Company Profile
Mid-America Machining 9 Unlock Company Profile
Co2 Pac 9 Unlock Company Profile
Dow-Mitsui Polychemicals 9 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 Rehrig Pacific. Amcor, in collaboration with vitamin-supplement company Ritual, has introduced a novel clear bottle made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin with 100% post-consumer recycled content (PCR).

In terms of application diversity, European Molecular Biology Laboratory leads the pack, while Horizon Intermediate and Mid-America Machining stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, IFCO Systems held the top position, followed by O-I Glass and Imperial Brands.

Synthetic resin containers will find increased application across the food industry in the coming years, due to their versatility, durability, and sustainability.

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