The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by convenience, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness, and the growing importance of technologies such as digital food management, 3D food printer, food safety and transparency, 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: Whey protein compositions. 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 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. Wet wipes dispenser, carbon fibre sports equipment, and cigarette rod making device are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are portable toothbrush cases and anabolic muscle supplements, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the consumer industry

Whey protein compositions is a key innovation area in consumer

Whey protein refers to soluble milk proteins that are created from the by-product of cheese production. It is popularly consumed by athletes.

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 whey protein compositions.

Key players in whey protein compositions – 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 whey protein compositions

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Arla Foods amba 85 Unlock Company Profile
Valio 65 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 59 Unlock Company Profile
Megmilk Snow Brand 58 Unlock Company Profile
Danone 54 Unlock Company Profile
a2 Milk 53 Unlock Company Profile
Reckitt Benckiser Group 50 Unlock Company Profile
Fonterra Co-operative Group 33 Unlock Company Profile
Zuivelcooperatie FrieslandCampina UA 30 Unlock Company Profile
Roquette Freres 20 Unlock Company Profile
Dairy Australia 14 Unlock Company Profile
INGREDIA 12 Unlock Company Profile
Leprino Foods 12 Unlock Company Profile
Murray Goulburn Co-operative 9 Unlock Company Profile
Morinaga Milk Industry 7 Unlock Company Profile
SiS (Science in Sport) 7 Unlock Company Profile
Agriculture Victoria Services 7 Unlock Company Profile
Tereos 6 Unlock Company Profile
Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Royal DSM 5 Unlock Company Profile
L’Institut National Recherche Agronomique 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Arla Foods amba is one of the leading patent filers in the whey protein compositions space. Some other key patent filers include Valio, Nestle, and Megmilk Snow Brand. Recently, Arla entered a partnership with First Milk. Under the new partnership, First Milk will produce specialist whey protein powder for Arla Foods.

In terms of application diversity, a2 Milk leads the pack, while Megmilk Snow Brand and Valio stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Valio held the top position, followed by Dairy Australia and Ingredia.

Whey protein compositions will become an important aspect in the consumer industry, as the health and wellness trend gains further foothold.

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.