The number of patents linked to machine learning filed by food manufacturers has declined, according to fresh analysis.

Figures from GlobalData, Just Food’s parent company, show the number of patent applications reached 14 in the three months ending December – down from 110 over the same period in 2020.

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The level of patent applications granted stood at five in the final three months of 2021, compared to six in the corresponding period a year earlier.

GlobalData tracks patent filings and approvals from offices around the world. These patents are grouped into thematic areas and linked to key companies across various industries.

Machine learning is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

Taiwan-based food and beverage group Uni-President China Holdings filed six related patents in the three months ending December.

It was followed by Nestlé with four applications and Japan-based seafood group Nippon Suisan Kaisha (three).