The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by environmental sustainability, convenience, and aesthetics, and the growing importance of personalized nutrition, food safety and transparency, and digital food management technologies. 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: microencapsulated proteins. 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

Microencapsulated proteins is a key innovation area in consumer

Microencapsulation is a process through which small particles or droplets are encapsulated in a coating. Microencapsulated proteins refer to proteins that have been encapsulated in a microcapsule or a multilayer microcapsule. The encapsulation can help to protect proteins from external factors such as oxidation, heat, and moisture, allowing for improved stability, and can also alter the release characteristics and bioavailability of the protein.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established consumer companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of microencapsulated proteins.

Key players in microencapsulated proteins – 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 microencapsulated proteins

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Royal DSM 47 Unlock Company Profile
Anabio Technologies 30 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 25 Unlock Company Profile
Washington H Soul Pattinson 22 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 15 Unlock Company Profile
Consejo Superior Investigacion 12 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced BioNutrition 11 Unlock Company Profile
Mondelez International 9 Unlock Company Profile
COFCO 8 Unlock Company Profile
Omya International 7 Unlock Company Profile
Colarome 6 Unlock Company Profile
Progel 6 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Medicine 6 Unlock Company Profile
CKD Bio 6 Unlock Company Profile
Teagasc 5 Unlock Company Profile
Tecnalia Research & Innovation Foundation 5 Unlock Company Profile
KB Biomed 5 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 4 Unlock Company Profile
Alpina Productos Alimenticios 4 Unlock Company Profile
Huddle 4 Unlock Company Profile
NIZO food research 4 Unlock Company Profile
Solvotrin Therapeutics 3 Unlock Company Profile
Chr. Hansen 3 Unlock Company Profile
Firmenich International 2 Unlock Company Profile
Intervet 2 Unlock Company Profile
Archer Daniels Midland 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ingredalia 2 Unlock Company Profile
International Flavors & Fragrances 1 Unlock Company Profile
Spanish National Research Council 1 Unlock Company Profile
Mainelab 1 Unlock Company Profile
InnoBio 1 Unlock Company Profile
NKD Pharma 1 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Royal DSM is one of the leading patent filers in microencapsulated proteins. Some other key patent filers in the space include Anabio Technologies, PepsiCo and Washington H Soul Pattinson. AnaBio Technologies has introduced microencapsulated probiotic strains, including widely recognized Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus types. These strains have the ability to endure temperature challenges linked to Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing.

In terms of application diversity, Progel leads the pack, with Chr. Hansen and Colarome in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, PepsiCo holds the top position, followed by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Royal DSM.

As consumers become more health-conscious, there's a growing interest in functional foods that provide additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Microencapsulation can be used to incorporate proteins with specific functional properties (for example, probiotics and vitamins) into foods, making them more appealing to health-conscious consumers.

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.