The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by guided health, wellbeing, and personalized nutrition, and growing importance of technologies such as fortified whey compositions, microencapsulated proteins, and alternative proteins. 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: whey protein hydrolysates. Buy the report here.
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
Whey protein hydrolysates is a key innovation area in consumer
Whey protein hydrolysates can be defined as a mixture made of whey proteins that are partially digested. It is a pure form of whey protein that is obtained using hydrolysis, which breaks protein chains into smaller segments. Called peptides, these smaller protein segments are easily absorbed by the human body. The absorption of whey protein hydrolysates is faster than other forms of whey 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 160+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established consumer companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of whey protein hydrolysates.
Key players in whey protein hydrolysates – 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 whey protein hydrolysates
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Nestle is the leading company in terms of patents filed in the whey protein hydrolysates space, followed by Danoneand Megmilk Snow Brand. In June 2021, Arla Foods, another leading patent filer in this space, introduced a whey protein hydrolysate ingredient called WPH Lacprodan DI-3091, which offers a better taste profile according to the company. It is designed for people with impaired ability to absorb protein.
By means of geographic reach, Nuritas leads the pack, followed bya2 Milk and Arla Foods.
Whey protein often comes with an unpleasant taste, making it unappealing for many consumers. Creating a better taste profile helps more consumers adopt whey protein products.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the consumer industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Consumer.