The number of patents linked to industrial automation filed by food manufacturers remains lower year-on-year, analysis by GlobalData suggests.

In the three months ending January, 36 patent applications were lodged, down from 89 in the corresponding period a year earlier, the London-based data and analytics group said.

The drop follows a year-on-year decline in the three months ending October. According to GlobalData, Just Food’s parent company, the number of patent applications covering industrial automation stood at four in the three months ending October – down from 16 over the same period last year.

In the three months ending January, the figures for patents granted followed a similar pattern to applications – shrinking from 68 in the three months ending January 2021 to 28 in the three-month period ending January 2022.

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The figures are compiled by GlobalData, which tracks patent filings and grants from authorised offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas and linked to key companies across various industries.

Industrial automation is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

Noodle maker Uni-President China Holdings was the top innovator in industrial automation in the food manufacturing sector in the period up to the end of January. It was followed by PepsiCo.

Further analysis:

The latest figures on food manufacturers’ big data patents

Further analysis: Patents on machine learning in food – what are the trends?