The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by convenience, aesthetics, health and wellness, and the growing importance of food waste reduction, 3D food printer, digital food management, and personalised 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: Emulsified food composition.

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. Fatty oil extraction, textured vegetable protein, and phytase supplemented animal feed are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are chewing gum compositions and anabolic muscle supplements, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the consumer industry

Emulsified food composition is a key innovation area in consumer

Food emulsions are prepared by mixing two liquid phases (oil and water) through a strong mechanical action, which results in one liquid phase being dispersed in the other. There are various kinds of food emulsions such as water-in-oil (W/O) types that include butter, margarine or low-calorie spreads, and oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions such as milk and cream.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established consumer companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of emulsified food composition.

Key players in emulsified food composition – 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 emulsified food composition

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nestle 90 Unlock company profile
Danone 53 Unlock company profile
Royal DSM 41 Unlock company profile
Unilever Plc 28 Unlock company profile
Fuji Oil Holdings 23 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 21 Unlock company profile
Otsuka Holdings 20 Unlock company profile
Givaudan 18 Unlock company profile
Kraft Heinz 18 Unlock company profile
Barlean's Organic Oils 14 Unlock company profile
PepsiCo 14 Unlock company profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 13 Unlock company profile
Ingredion 13 Unlock company profile
Kewpie 13 Unlock company profile
Veg of Lund 9 Unlock company profile
Tate & Lyle 9 Unlock company profile
Archer Daniels Midland 9 Unlock company profile
Lone Star Funds 9 Unlock company profile
Cargill 9 Unlock company profile
Ajinomoto 8 Unlock company profile
Alfa SAB de CV 7 Unlock company profile
Ocean Nutrition Canada 7 Unlock company profile
San-Ei Gen F.F.I. 6 Unlock company profile
CSM Bakery Solutions Europe Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Mizkan Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Firmenich International 6 Unlock company profile
ISE Foods 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nestle is one of the leading patent filers in emulsified food composition. Some other key patent filers in the emulsified food composition include Danone, Royal DSM, Unilever, and Fuji Oil Holdings. Recently, Nestle announced the launch of  Celltrient Cellular Nutrition, a range of nutritional solutions that work at the cellular level. The Celltrient range is formulated with cellular nutrients that support mitochondrial health and help to address some of the major drivers of age associated cellular decline.

In terms of application diversity, Barlean's Organic Oils leads the pack, with Archer Daniels Midland and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Abbott Laboratories holds the top position, followed by Ocean Nutrition Canada  and Otsuka Holdings.

Emulsification allows to maintain attributes such as desirable appearance, texture and flavour profiles in food items such as beverages, milk, creams and dips. Further, emulsions are highly used for encapsulation and delivery of bioactive agents such as vitamins and nutraceuticals. Hence, emulsified food composition will potentially become the approach favoured by many future food players in coming years.

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.