The environment has become a more important issue among R&D teams at non-alcoholic drinks companies, data suggests.

There has been an increase in the number of patent applications in the non-alcoholic drinks sector related to the environment in the last year, analysis by GlobalData, Just Drinks’ parent, shows.

Between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022, 713 such applications were lodged.

In the corresponding period a year later, that number rose to 879, the research and intelligence group said.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics database contains global figures on the patents filed – and granted – by businesses across multiple sectors. Each patent is classified by theme, including those linked to areas such as the environment or health and wellness.

The company classifies the non-alcoholic drinks market as soft drinks, tea, coffee and dairy drinks.

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Overall, 7,615 patent applications were made in the 12 months to the end of June 2023. A year earlier, 9,461 were put forward for approval.

In both periods under review, health and wellness was the most common classification. During the year to the end of June 2022, 3,801 applications were made. In the 12 months to the end of June this year, 2,967 requests were filed.

China topped the list geographically in both periods under review.

In the 12 months to the end of June this year, Kotobuki Realty Co. – Suntory Holdings’ ultimate parent – filed the most applications, lodging 324 proposals.

It also topped the list in the previous year, with 462 applications.

Each week, Just Drinks’ journalists analyse data on patent filings and grants that illustrate innovation trends in our sector. These patent signals show where the leading companies are focusing their research and development investment – and why. We uncover key innovation areas in the sector and the themes that drive them.

This new, thematic patents coverage is powered by our underlying Disruptor data, which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors.