22 Apr 2011
Women are 14 percent more likely than men to select environmentally friendly packaging over non-“green,” more-convenient alternatives, according to a recent study of 1,011 adults commissioned by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters. Men surveyed were more apt to select products packaged to provide greater convenience.
This finding is part of an intellectual property report released by Thomson Reuters, World IP Today: Convenience vs. Conscience – Food Packaging in the 21st Century, that explores the food packaging industry to identify its trends and drivers. The analysis assesses the state of food- and beverage-packaging innovation across a number of information sources, including patents, trademarks, scientific literature and litigation data.
Key findings from the report include:
- Convenience vs. conscience – a tie: In the great “convenience vs. conscience” debate, people are fairly evenly split between environmental conscience and consumer convenience when it comes to making food- and beverage-packaging decisions. The industry is headed in the direction of providing both convenient packaging and conscientious protection of the environment, satisfying both needs rather than making it an either/or decision.
- Consumer-facing companies top leader lists: Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods and Mars Inc. are the top B2C (business-to-consumer) filers of design patents in terms of their packaging innovation, while others such as Reynolds, Solo Cup Company and Nestle are the leading consumer product companies filing for protection of packaging-related trademarks. The top B2B (business-to-business) packaging innovators that supply the consumer product companies include Dianippon Printing, Toppan Printing and Yoshino Kogyosho (Yoshino Plastics).
- Green labeling “loophole”: While patents mentioning biodegradability, recycling and barrier films are increasing in frequency, a lack of standardization in what constitutes an environmentally friendly package has resulted in ambiguity as to which packages really are “green.” With organizations including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Sustainable Packaging Coalition and the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment currently working on standards, this issue will likely receive more attention in coming months.
- Looking ahead – interactive packaging: Beyond the “green” theme, other key areas of focus showing up in the Thomson Reuters analysis are innovations in tamper-evident packaging and interactive packages that use RFID technology to track food from source to destination.
"Analysis in the Convenience vs. Conscience – Food Packaging in the 21st Century report shows the insight that can be gleaned from studying intellectual property information and related scientific-journal data,” said Susan Cullen, Ph.D., Thomson Reuters IP practice director and co-author of the report. “It is our hope that readers will see the unique perspective IP data provides and look to it when making business decisions and trying to understand an area more clearly.”
The data in this report were compiled using the Thomson Innovation® IP research and analysis platform, which incorporates the Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPISM) database of 20 million patent families covering more than 42.5 million patent documents. Trademark research was conducted using SAEGIS™, an online trademark screening solution. Litigation information was gathered using IP Monitor on Westlaw, the industry-leading legal research service from Thomson Reuters.