The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by health and wellness, convenience, and the growing importance of plant-based/alternative proteins, food safety and transparency, and personalized nutrition. In the last three years alone, there have been over 662,000 patents filed and granted in the consumer industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in consumer: edible oil non-spreads. 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 consumer industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the consumer industry using innovation intensity models built on over 116,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, microencapsulated proteins, plant based cheese substitutes, and texturized vegetable proteins are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Botulinum toxin, beverage pods, and filled confectionary manufacturing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are anabolic muscle supplements and protein-fortified beverages, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the consumer industry

Edible oil non-spreads is a key innovation area in consumer

Edible oil non-spreads are stable oil-based emulsions that are ready to use/consume. These products are often fortified with vitamins and minerals and can be consumed as substitute food and dietary supplements.

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 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established consumer companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of edible oil non-spreads.

Key players in edible oil non-spreads – a disruptive innovation in the consumer 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 edible oil non-spreads

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Unilever 250 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 131 Unlock Company Profile
Royal DSM 81 Unlock Company Profile
Danone 53 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International 49 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 48 Unlock Company Profile
Kao 47 Unlock Company Profile
Kraft Heinz 45 Unlock Company Profile
Cargill 41 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 34 Unlock Company Profile
Givaudan 34 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Oil 30 Unlock Company Profile
Washington H Soul Pattinson 28 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 27 Unlock Company Profile
Corbion 22 Unlock Company Profile
General Mills 21 Unlock Company Profile
Kaneka 20 Unlock Company Profile
Firmenich International 20 Unlock Company Profile
International Flavors & Fragrances 18 Unlock Company Profile
International Flavors & Fragrances 18 Unlock Company Profile
Borges International Group SLU 16 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 15 Unlock Company Profile
Bakkavor Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Leading Edge Innovations 14 Unlock Company Profile
Kewpie 13 Unlock Company Profile
Mycell Technologies 13 Unlock Company Profile
Upfield 13 Unlock Company Profile
Tharos 13 Unlock Company Profile
Mondelez International 12 Unlock Company Profile
McCormick 11 Unlock Company Profile
Archer Daniels Midland 11 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 10 Unlock Company Profile
Alfa 10 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Maize Prod 10 Unlock Company Profile
Royal FrieslandCampina 10 Unlock Company Profile
Omega Foods 10 Unlock Company Profile
Ingredion 9 Unlock Company Profile
British American Tobacco 9 Unlock Company Profile
Mizkan 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vantage Specialty Chemicals 9 Unlock Company Profile
CJ 9 Unlock Company Profile
Mizkan 9 Unlock Company Profile
Rich Products 9 Unlock Company Profile
DuPont de Nemours 8 Unlock Company Profile
Green Rabbit 8 Unlock Company Profile
AAK 8 Unlock Company Profile
CrystalGenomics 8 Unlock Company Profile
Adeka 8 Unlock Company Profile
Cadbury 8 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Oil 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Unilever is the leading patent filer in non-spread edible oils. Some other key patent filers in the space are Nestle, Royal DSM, Danone, and Baxter International. In early 2021, Nestle announced its acquisition of Bountiful Company’s core brands for $5.75bn. The transaction includes the brands Solgar®, Osteo Bi-Flex®, Nature's Bounty®, and Puritan’s Pride®, along with the company's private label business in the US. Nestle would integrate these brands under Nestlé Health Science to become a global leader in nutraceuticals.

In terms of application diversity, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation leads the pack. CrystalGenomics and International Flavors & Fragrances stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Baxter International holds the top position, followed by BASF and Bakkavor Group.

Non-spread edible oils will potentially gain greater importance as consumers grow more concerned of their health and wellness. Such products with their various health benefits, including brain health, hair and skin maintenance, will gain greater market share with more number of manufacturers introducing new products.

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

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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.