The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by environmental sustainability, convenience, 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: plant-based antioxidants. 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

Plant-based antioxidants is a key innovation area in consumer

Plant-based antioxidants are natural compounds found in various plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. They have the ability to neutralize harmful molecules known as free radicals, which cause oxidative stress and can lead to various chronic diseases in humans.

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established consumer companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of plant-based antioxidants.

Key players in plant-based antioxidants – 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 plant-based antioxidants

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nestle 102 Unlock Company Profile
Unilever 87 Unlock Company Profile
Danone 83 Unlock Company Profile
Royal DSM 44 Unlock Company Profile
Givaudan 35 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Oil 27 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 21 Unlock Company Profile
Kraft Heinz 18 Unlock Company Profile
Otsuka 18 Unlock Company Profile
Ingredion 15 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 15 Unlock Company Profile
Mars 14 Unlock Company Profile
Barlean's Organic Oils 14 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 14 Unlock Company Profile
Kewpie 13 Unlock Company Profile
Cargill 12 Unlock Company Profile
Tate & Lyle 11 Unlock Company Profile
Archer Daniels Midland 11 Unlock Company Profile
Veg of Lund 10 Unlock Company Profile
Alfa 10 Unlock Company Profile
Amano Enzyme 9 Unlock Company Profile
Lone Star Funds 9 Unlock Company Profile
Ajinomoto 8 Unlock Company Profile
ISE Foods 7 Unlock Company Profile
Firmenich International 7 Unlock Company Profile
San-Ei Gen F.F.I. 6 Unlock Company Profile
CSM Bakery Solutions Europe 6 Unlock Company Profile
Clayton 6 Unlock Company Profile
Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mizkan 6 Unlock Company Profile
Fuji Oil 5 Unlock Company Profile
Symrise 5 Unlock Company Profile
Phytoption 5 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 4 Unlock Company Profile
DMK Deutsches Milchkontor 3 Unlock Company Profile
Barilla 2 Unlock Company Profile
PM-International 2 Unlock Company Profile
Pharming Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
SY Solution 1 Unlock Company Profile
ZMP cooperative 1 Unlock Company Profile
Henan Zhongda Biological Engineering 1 Unlock Company Profile
Sirio Pharma 1 Unlock Company Profile
Beyond Meat 1 Unlock Company Profile
GS Yuasa 1 Unlock Company Profile
Ayanda 1 Unlock Company Profile
SRE Wellness 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nestlé SA is one of the leading patent filers in plant-based antioxidants. Some other key patent filers in the space include Unilever Plc, Danone SA, and Royal DSM NV. Danone North America, entered into a collaboration with Brightseed, an AI-driven biotechnology firm. Brightseed, has developed an AI platform tailored for the identification of phytonutrients, including antioxidants, at a molecular scale.

In terms of application diversity, Symrise AG leads the pack, with Barlean's Organic Oils, L.L.C. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Danone SA holds the top position, followed by Abbott Laboratories and Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd.

There is a growing trend towards plant-based diets and a greater awareness of the health benefits associated with consuming antioxidants from plant sources. Antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, are abundant in many plant-based foods.

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.