The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by health and wellness, convenience, and the growing importance of plant-based/alternative proteins, 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: Edible oil non-spreads.

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

Edible oil non-spreads is a key innovation area in consumer

Edible oil non-spreads are stable oil-based emulsions that are ready to use/consume. These products are often fortified with vitamins and minerals and can be consumed as substitute food and dietary supplements.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established consumer companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of edible oil non-spreads.

Key players in edible oil non-spreads – 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 edible oil non-spreads

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nestle 131 Unlock company profile
Royal DSM 77 Unlock company profile
Unilever Plc 65 Unlock company profile
Danone 49 Unlock company profile
Kao 49 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 43 Unlock company profile
Kraft Heinz 39 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 33 Unlock company profile
Givaudan 28 Unlock company profile
PepsiCo 27 Unlock company profile
Fuji Oil Holdings 24 Unlock company profile
Washington H Soul Pattinson and 23 Unlock company profile
General Mills 21 Unlock company profile
International Flavors & Fragrances 18 Unlock company profile
Corbion 17 Unlock company profile
Cargill 16 Unlock company profile
Bakkavor Group Plc 16 Unlock company profile
Leading Edge Innovations 14 Unlock company profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 13 Unlock company profile
Tharos 13 Unlock company profile
Mycell Technologies 12 Unlock company profile
Kewpie 11 Unlock company profile
Upfield Europe 11 Unlock company profile
Borges International Group 10 Unlock company profile
Mondelez International 10 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 10 Unlock company profile
McCormick & Company 10 Unlock company profile
Japan Maize Prod 10 Unlock company profile
DuPont de Nemours 9 Unlock company profile
Rich Products 9 Unlock company profile
Zuivelcooperatie FrieslandCampina UA 9 Unlock company profile
Archer Daniels Midland 8 Unlock company profile
Mizkan 8 Unlock company profile
Mizkan Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Alfa SAB de CV 8 Unlock company profile
Fuji Oil 8 Unlock company profile
CrystalGenomics 8 Unlock company profile
Firmenich International 7 Unlock company profile
Ocean Nutrition Canada 7 Unlock company profile
Marubeni 7 Unlock company profile
Green Rabbit 7 Unlock company profile
Symrise 6 Unlock company profile
AAK 6 Unlock company profile
LesieurS 6 Unlock company profile
Kaneka - Polystyrene Paper Business 6 Unlock company profile
Chr. Hansen Natural Colors 5 Unlock company profile
Omega Foods. 5 Unlock company profile
Shanghai Hi-Road Food Technology 5 Unlock company profile
Investors Community Bank 5 Unlock company profile
M H Foods 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nestle is one of the leading patent filers in non-spread edible oils. Some other key patent filers in the space are Royal DSM, Unilever, Danone, and Kao. In early 2021, Nestle announced its acquisition of Bountiful Company’s core brands for $5.75bn. The transaction includes the brands Solgar®, Osteo Bi-Flex®, Nature's Bounty®, and Puritan’s Pride®, along with the company's private label business in the US. Nestle would integrate these brands under Nestlé Health Science to become a global leader in nutraceuticals.

In terms of application diversity, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation leads the pack. CrystalGenomics and Fujifilm Holdings stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Bakkavor Group held the top position followed by Leading Edge Innovations and Japan Maize Prod.

Non-spread edible oils will potentially gain greater importance as consumers grow more concerned of their health and wellness. Such products with their various health benefits, including brain health, hair and skin maintenance, will gain greater market share with more number of manufacturers introducing new products.

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.