The consumer industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by guided health, sugar substitutes, and natural sweeteners and growing importance of technologies such as personalized nutrition, vegetable proteins, and sustainability. In the last three years alone, there have been over 662,000 patents filed and granted in the consumer industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in consumer: recombinant steviol glycosides. 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 stabilizing 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.

30+ 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 116,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, microencapsulated proteins, plant-based cheese substitutes, and texturized vegetable proteins are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Botulinum toxin, beverage pods, and filled confectionary manufacturing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are anabolic muscle supplements and protein-fortified beverages, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the consumer industry

Recombinant steviol glycosides is a key innovation area in consumer

Steviol glycosides are sweeteners that are prepared from stevia plant extracts. Being much sweeter compared to sugar, just a small amount of steviol glycosides is sufficient to match the sweetness provided by regular sugar. A recombinant microorganism can be defined as an organism that contains parts from different species, genera, or individuals. Such recombinant microorganisms can be used to produce steviol glycosides.  These recombinant organisms can be engineered to obtain recombinant genes encoding UDP-gylcosyltransferases (UGTs) and steviol biosynthetic enzymes.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established consumer companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of recombinant steviol glycosides.

Key players in recombinant steviol glycosides – a disruptive innovation in the consumer industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.  

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to recombinant steviol glycosides

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Ingredion 496 Unlock Company Profile
Conagen 254 Unlock Company Profile
Cargill 234 Unlock Company Profile
Theca-Cola 192 Unlock Company Profile
Evolva 170 Unlock Company Profile
Royal DSM 157 Unlock Company Profile
Kotobuki Realty 130 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 57 Unlock Company Profile
Firmenich International 43 Unlock Company Profile
Tate & Lyle 34 Unlock Company Profile
Amyris 33 Unlock Company Profile
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners 30 Unlock Company Profile
Zhucheng Haotian Pharm 15 Unlock Company Profile
CJ 15 Unlock Company Profile
Manus Bio 15 Unlock Company Profile
Evolva Nutrition 14 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 11 Unlock Company Profile
Symrise 11 Unlock Company Profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 7 Unlock Company Profile
Heartland Consumers Power District 7 Unlock Company Profile
OptiBiotix Health 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hunan Nutramax 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ginkgo Bioworks 5 Unlock Company Profile
Almendra 4 Unlock Company Profile
Agricultural Research Organization - the Volcani Center 3 Unlock Company Profile
Abunda Nutrition 3 Unlock Company Profile
Orochem Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile
Merisant US 2 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Gingko Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 2 Unlock Company Profile
SweeGen 2 Unlock Company Profile
Lee Thomas A 2 Unlock Company Profile
EPC (Beijing) Plant Pharmaceutical Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Sweet Green Fields International 2 Unlock Company Profile
Chromocell 1 Unlock Company Profile
Government Of Israel 1 Unlock Company Profile
TC Heartland 1 Unlock Company Profile
Qufu Shengren Pharmaceutical 1 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Paper Industries 1 Unlock Company Profile
EPC Natural Products 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

In terms of patents filed, Ingredion is the leading company in the recombinant steviol glycosides space, followed by Conagenand Cargill. In July 2023, Ingredion launched PureCircle Clean Taste Solutions, an assortment of stevia products that are tailored to food and beverage applications.

In terms of application diversity, Evolva Nutrition is the leading company, while Orochem Technologies and Abunda Nutrition stood in the second and third positions, respectively.

By means of geographic reach, Conagen leads the pack, followed by Amyris and Cargill.

With more consumers looking to restrict their sugar intake while consuming beverages, the usage of steviol glycosides as sugar substitutes will grow in the coming years. 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.