The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by health and wellness, and 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 450,000 patents filed and granted in the consumer industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Consumer: Milk processing techniques.

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.

40+ 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 110,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, hydrogel dressings, dextrin-based compositions, and safety injection needles are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Wet wipes dispenser, carbon fibre sports equipment, and cigarette rod making device are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are portable toothbrush cases and anabolic muscle supplements, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the consumer industry

Milk processing techniques is a key innovation area in consumer

In order to increase the shelf life of milk, various preservation techniques are used. Some of the commonly used methods include sterilisation, pasteurisation, and ultra high temperature treatment.

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 milk processing techniques.

Key players in milk processing techniques – a disruptive innovation in the consumer 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 milk processing techniques

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Valio 254 Unlock company profile
DMK Deutsches Milchkontor 103 Unlock company profile
Arla Foods amba 96 Unlock company profile
Danone 94 Unlock company profile
Coca-Cola 85 Unlock company profile
JDE Peet's 55 Unlock company profile
Nestle 47 Unlock company profile
Fonterra Co-operative Group 39 Unlock company profile
COFCO 35 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 28 Unlock company profile
Kraft Heinz 28 Unlock company profile
Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group 26 Unlock company profile
Sodiaal International. 22 Unlock company profile
TINE 20 Unlock company profile
Zuivelcooperatie FrieslandCampina UA 19 Unlock company profile
Morinaga Milk Industry 15 Unlock company profile
Chr. Hansen Holding 14 Unlock company profile
Agritechnology 13 Unlock company profile
Bright Dairy & Food 13 Unlock company profile
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc 12 Unlock company profile
Select Milk Producers 11 Unlock company profile
Beijing Sanyuan Foods 10 Unlock company profile
Alfasigma 10 Unlock company profile
Land O'Lakes 9 Unlock company profile
Grupo LALA SAB de CV 9 Unlock company profile
Granarolo 8 Unlock company profile
Glanbia plc 8 Unlock company profile
EKF Diagnostics Holdings Plc 8 Unlock company profile
Idaho Milk Products 7 Unlock company profile
GEA Group 7 Unlock company profile
Mondelez International 7 Unlock company profile
Meiji Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
China Feihe 6 Unlock company profile
Tetra Laval International 6 Unlock company profile
Dairy Management 5 Unlock company profile
Tamarack Biotics 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Valio is one of the leading patent filers in milk processing techniques. Some other key patent filers in the space are DMK Deutsches Milchkontor, Arla Foods, and Danone. Recently, Arla Foods started a new dairy plant in Germany to address the global milk powder demand. Producing long-shelf-life milk powder is one of the primary objectives of setting up the new plant.

In terms of application diversity, Nestle leads the pack. Abbott Laboratories and Reckitt Benckiser Group stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Sodiaal International held the top position, followed by Morinaga Milk Industry and Abbott Laboratories.

Milk processing techniques will potentially gain greater importance with manufacturers looking to increase the shelf life of milk products as well as from a safety point of view.

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

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.