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.

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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

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

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nestle 395 Unlock Company Profile
Danone 271 Unlock Company Profile
Megmilk Snow Brand 258 Unlock Company Profile
Reckitt Benckiser Group 188 Unlock Company Profile
Arla Foods amba 145 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 90 Unlock Company Profile
a2 Milk 88 Unlock Company Profile
Valio 83 Unlock Company Profile
Fonterra Co-operative Group 50 Unlock Company Profile
Morinaga Milk Industry 43 Unlock Company Profile
Royal FrieslandCampina 37 Unlock Company Profile
Meiji 33 Unlock Company Profile
Nuritas 28 Unlock Company Profile
Royal DSM 21 Unlock Company Profile
Gelita 20 Unlock Company Profile
Murray Goulburn Co-operative 20 Unlock Company Profile
Roquette Freres 19 Unlock Company Profile
Amazentis 18 Unlock Company Profile
Dairy Australia 17 Unlock Company Profile
Kirin 17 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 16 Unlock Company Profile
Gelatines Weishardt 16 Unlock Company Profile
INGREDIA 16 Unlock Company Profile
Fresenius 15 Unlock Company Profile
ByHeart 15 Unlock Company Profile
Kerry Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Symrise 14 Unlock Company Profile
Hero 14 Unlock Company Profile
Newtricious 14 Unlock Company Profile
Prolacta Bioscience 14 Unlock Company Profile
Pharma Foods International 13 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
Aker BioMarine 13 Unlock Company Profile
Leprino Foods 12 Unlock Company Profile
Tereos 11 Unlock Company Profile
Kraft Heinz 11 Unlock Company Profile
New Image Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Firmenich International 10 Unlock Company Profile
Raisio 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nisshin Seifun Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
V. Mane Fils 8 Unlock Company Profile
Halo Food 8 Unlock Company Profile
Humana Milchunion eG 8 Unlock Company Profile
Saputo 7 Unlock Company Profile
SiS (Science in Sport) 7 Unlock Company Profile
Laimu 7 Unlock Company Profile
Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Globus Egg Sciences 7 Unlock Company Profile
Abyss Ingredients 7 Unlock Company Profile

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.

In terms of application diversity, Valio is the leading company, while Nisshin Seifun Group and SiS (Science in Sport) are in the second and third positions, respectively.

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.

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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.