Meat Analogues – Innovation Landscape

A Quality vs Quantity analysis over all the Alive inventions (pending applications and grants) using PatSeer Pro X

In recent times, the importance of Meat Analogues has increased due to health and dietary awareness among consumers and the need for a better future environment. Meat analogues are designed to mimic the appearance, flavour, and texture of meat products, commonly called as plant-based meat, vegan meat, or imitation meat.

The meat analogue market is expected to exceed $10 Billion by 2025 according to recent market research reports. With a rapidly rising market, the technology around them is equally evolving and so is the patenting intensity. A Quality vs Quantity analysis over all the Alive inventions (pending applications and grants) using PatSeer Pro X, gives us a good summary of the current competitive landscape that currently exists in this space.

Going by active portfolio size, Nestle, Fuji Oil Co, DuPont, Mars Inc and RoyalDSM have larger portfolios. Plotting these portfolios against PatSeer’s quality metrics helps us see who the Leaders, Challengers and Visionaries are in this space. PatSeer quality metrics rank patent portfolios by assessing their competitive, market, legal and technology potential.

Meat Analogue Top Players

A deeper look into this innovation landscape gives a few interesting observations:

  1. Bigger players with bigger pockets are pursuing an acquisition strategy and a few companies such as Nestle, Unilever and General Mills have already acquired companies in this space.
  2. The top two market competitors in US – Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat differ considerably in the quality and quantity of their patent portfolios
  3. Eat Just Inc. has a small but high-quality patent portfolio with a wide market coverage. It is involved in producing plant-based substitutes for eggs.
  4. Mycotechnology Inc. is an emerging start-up with a fast-rising portfolio. It is producing meat analogues using fungal mycelium (mushrooms), rice and pea.
  5. Unilever acquired “The Vegetarian butcher” in 2020 and has recently been expanding their patent portfolio with greater aggression in recent years and with increasing global coverage. This also mirrors their global market expansion plans in this area.
  6. Fuji Oil Co. Ltd. mainly produces the meat analogues using Soy protein and its patents are mainly related to the Food chemistry technology. Its market appears to be limited to the Southeast Asian countries (like its patent filings).
  7. Patent Litigation is expected to increase with players like DuPont already asserting their patents against others. Impossible Foods is also expected to assert their patents against any infringing player.
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