Plant-based Meats White Spaces Analysis

Plant-based Meats: Intellectual Property Landscape

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Plant-based Meats Overview

In 2020, close to 340 million tons of meat was estimated to be produced worldwide. Compared to the early 1960s (~70 million tons), this represents almost a 500% increase. Considering that the global population grew by 150% in the same time period, it is evident that meat consumption has increased at a rate that cannot be sustainable. Moreover, raising animals for slaughter is estimated to be responsible for close to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, almost a third of the earth’s freshwater is used in rearing animals for meat production. Animal farming also requires large areas of land, for grazing, which is often the cause of deforestation efforts. Overall, the carbon footprint of livestock farming is substantial and a notable cause for concern, given its potential to contribute to global warming. In this context, it is worth highlighting that raising cattle for beef and lamb meat production, has a much larger environmental impact than pig meat and poultry. Vegetarian meats and plant-based products that resemble meat, in texture and, to some extent, taste, present a viable solution to the abovementioned crisis. The concept of vegetarian meats dates back to the late 19th century, when John Harvey Kellogg first described a peanut-based meat product, which he called nuttose. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the preference for alternative meats has substantially increased. In fact, this trend is anticipated to continue gaining more popularity as the people become more aware of the harmful impact of meat on both human health and the environment. 

Historical Trend of IP-related Publications in plant-based meats from the research report of Roots Analysis Analysis of Simple Patent Families of plant-based meats, prepared by Roots Analysis Popular / Relevant Prior Art Search Expressions of plant-based meats, from Roots Analysis report

In addition to being environmentally friendly, mock meat is also low in calories and fat content, and is a good source of protein and fiber. Medical studies have also shown that replacing animal meat has the potential to reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes. Despite the numerous advantages of vegetarian meats, it is worth mentioning that such alternatives are currently more expensive compared to similar quantities of animal meat. For instance, a Beyond Meat patty may cost up to USD 5, while a regular beef patty is merely worth USD 2. The difference in price is attributed to the fact that plant-derived meats are produced at a much smaller scale and include a variety of whole foods (which are individually more expensive), making them relatively pricey. Over time, the intellectual capital in this growing segment of the food and beverages industry has evolved and increased, in terms of number of patents filed / granted. Presently, the technology is available to develop a variety of faux meat products from beans and lentils, jackfruit, different types of nuts and seeds, pea protein, potato starch, seitan (vital wheat gluten), soy and tofu, and various vegetables. Therefore, in order for stakeholders to remain competitive, it important to keep track of both areas of improvement and pockets of innovation. This report captures some of the key R&D-related trends associated with the various types of meat-like products derived from plants, and other non-animal sources.

Scope of the Report

The “Plant-based Meats: Intellectual Property Landscape” report features an extensive study of some of the key historical and contemporary intellectual property (IP) documents (featuring granted patents, patent applications and other documents) describing various meat-like products (for consumption by humans and animals) that have been synthesized from plants. The insights generated in this report have been presented across two deliverables, namely an MS Excel sheet and an MS PowerPoint deck, summarizing the ongoing activity in this domain.

Key Areas of Innovation in plant-based meats This image provides information on Patentability and Freedom to Operate in plant-based meats This image provides information on Patent Valuation Analysis of plant-based meats

Key inclusions are briefly described below:

  • Overall Intellectual Property Landscape

An in-depth review of the various patents and affiliated IP documents that have been published related to the diverse products, technologies, and methods associated with vegetarian meat and affiliated products, for consumption by humans and animals. It features insights on both historical and recent trends in R&D within this niche.

  • Popular / Relevant Prior Art Search Expressions

An examination of IP literature, shortlisting key words and phrases that have been used to describe various types of faux meat products that are either already available in the market, or under development. The analysis includes information on the historical use of the aforementioned terms across different types of IP filings, key affiliated terms (which can be used to further identify similar innovations), and other related trends.

  • Patent Valuation Analysis

A competitive benchmarking and valuation analysis of the IP documents published in this field of innovation, taking into consideration important parameters, such as type of IP document, year of application, time to expiry, number of citations and jurisdiction (factoring in regional GDP).

  • Patentability and Freedom to Operate

A systematic approach to identify relevant areas of innovation by analyzing published IP documents, defining the uniqueness of patented / patent pending innovations, understanding the scope of patentability in this domain, and pinpointing jurisdictions where new and / or modified claims may be filed without infringing on existing IP. 

  • Analysis of Patent Applications

A detailed summary of the patent applications that were filed across different jurisdictions and their relative value in the IP ecosystem. The analysis segregates the intellectual capital in terms of area of innovation and intended applications, thereby, offering the means to understand key areas of research and identify innovation-specific IP filing trends.

  • Analysis of Granted Patents

An elaborate summary of the granted patents across different jurisdictions and their relative value in the IP ecosystem. The analysis also features a meaningful classification system, segregating granted patents into relevant categories to help develop a more detailed perspective on the diverse types of innovations in this domain and their intended applications, and the feasibility for innovators to enter into promising product markets. 

This image highlights the summary of patent claims related to plant-based meats, as highlighted in Roots Analysis report This infographic informs about pockets of innovation in plant-based meats, as indentified in Roots Analysis report This image presents white spaces in plant-based meats, as identified in Roots Analysis report

 

  • Pockets of Innovation and White Spaces

 

An insightful analysis of the various CPC codes used in published IP literature and their affiliated families, in order to identify historical and existing pockets of innovation (based on the functional area / industry described by the elaborate and systematic system of classifying IP); the analysis also features a discussion on prevalent white spaces (based on CPC symbols) in this arena of research.

  • Claims Analysis

One of the objectives of the report was to analyze and summarize key inferences from the independent claims mentioned in granted, active patents in the dataset. Using a systematic segregation approach, we have analyzed trends associated with [A] the preamble, [B] type of patent (technology patent or method patent), [C] type of claim (open ended claim or closed ended claim) and [D] key elements of a claim (individual aspects of an innovation that are covered in a singular claim).

DELIVERABLE OUTLINES

Excel Deliverable

Sheet 1 features details regarding how the input data for this project was collated, including the search strings used to query a popular patent database (lens.org), and data segregation notes. 

Sheet 2 is a summary MS Excel dashboard, offering a detailed graphical perspective of the intellectual property landscape of meat-like products derived from plants. It includes pictorial representations of the [A] overall patent landscape, [B] key prior art search expressions, [C] trends related to patent applications (including insights on patentability and freedom to operate), [D] trends related to granted patents (including insights on patentability and freedom to operate), [E] key inferences from a proprietary claims analysis, [F] list of popular CPC symbols (featuring key pockets of innovation), [G] list of popular applicants (shortlisted based on number of published IP documents).

Sheet 3 is an elaborate tabular representation of the overall IP landscape, featuring information on the various patent application- and granted patent-related documents, related to vegetarian meats / meat-like products, which have been published since 1965. 

Sheet 4 includes a tabular representation of key words and phrases that are used to describe vegetarian meats / meat-like products.

Sheet 5 is a subset of sheet 3, featuring all the patent applications, covering innovations related to vegetarian meats / meat-like products.

Sheet 6 is a subset of sheet 3, featuring all the granted patents, covering innovations related to plant-based meat alternatives. 

Sheet 7 is an insightful summary of key inferences from the independent claims mentioned in the granted, active patents in the dataset. We have used a systematic segregation approach to analyze trends associated with the preamble, type of patent (technology patent or method patent), type of claim (open ended claim or closed ended claim) and key elements of a claim (individual aspects of an innovation that are covered in a singular claim).

Sheet 8 provides insights related to some of the key applicants in this field of research, featuring company-specific details (such as year of establishment, and location of headquarters), and inputs on their respective IP publication trends. 

Sheet 9 features an analysis of the most popular CPC symbols and CPC families (in terms of frequency of appearance in the dataset), related to the diverse types of meat alternatives that are either already available in the market, or under development. 

Sheet 10 is an appendix which includes pivot tables that drive the charts and interactive elements for the complete IP landscape, in sheet 2.

Sheet 11 is an appendix, featuring details related to the categorization done in the report, and important abbreviations used in reference to the data categories mentioned in the document.

PowerPoint Deliverable
Chapter 1 briefly describes of the need for meat alternatives and the key advantages of meat-like products that are fabricated from different plants and plant-based sources. Further, it provides an overview of the intellectual property landscape related to vegetarian meats. 

Chapter 2 and 3 feature brief (pictorial) summaries of the approach used for data collection and the key objectives of the study.

Chapter 4 features an executive summary of the key insights generated from analyzing the intellectual property landscape of plant-based meats.

Chapter 5 features a brief description of gene therapies and offers an informed perspective on the contemporary need for targeted and efficacious therapeutic solutions, in the treatment of clinical conditions that are characterized by a genetic cause; this includes oncological disorders, several metabolomic and degenerative diseases, and close to 40% of rare diseases. It provides an impactful summary of the important milestones in this field of research and highlights some of the distinguishing features of both early generation and modern variants of these personalized therapies. It also includes a list of important focus areas (in terms of innovation) and key areas of application. Finally, the chapter describes the various advantages of gene therapies and highlights existing limitations.

Chapter 6 includes a review of the various patents and IP documents that have been published related to technologies and methods associated with plant-based meats and affiliated products, featuring insights related to both historical and recent trends.

Chapter 7 features an insightful examination of IP literature, highlighting key words and phrases that are used to describe different types of vegan meats for consumption by both humans and animals, including information on historical usage in IP filings, key affiliated terms (which can be used to further identify similar innovations), and other related trends.

Chapter 8 offers insights from a competitive benchmarking and valuation analysis of the IP documents published related to this field of research, taking into account important parameters, such as type of IP document, year of application, time to expiry, number of citations and jurisdiction (factoring in regional GDP).

Chapter 9 provides a detailed summary of the patent applications that were filed across different jurisdictions and their relative value in the IP ecosystem. The analysis segregates the intellectual capital in terms of area of innovation and intended applications, thereby, offering the means to understand key areas of research and identify innovation-specific IP filing trends. Based on a systematic approach, the chapter highlights relevant areas of innovation from a deeper analysis of published IP documents, defining the uniqueness of patent pending innovations, understanding the scope of patentability in this domain, and pinpointing jurisdictions where new and / or modified claims may be filed without infringing on existing IP.

Chapter 10 is an elaborate summary of the granted patents across different jurisdictions and their relative value in the IP ecosystem. The analysis uses a proprietary segregation criterion, based on type of product / solution and intended applications; this offers the means to identify unique innovations that presently have marketing exclusivity and explore future opportunities to enter into promising product markets, once their patents expire. Based on a systematic approach, the chapter highlights relevant areas of innovation from a deeper analysis of published IP documents, defining the uniqueness of patented innovations, understanding the scope of patentability in this domain, and pinpointing jurisdictions where new and / or modified claims may be filed without infringing on existing IP.

Chapter 11 features profiles of some of the most popular applicant companies, which were shortlisted based on patent filing activity. Each profiles includes, a brief overview of the company, information on annual revenues (wherever available), details of its initiatives focused on the healthcare sector, names of key management team members and recent developments. 

Chapter 12 includes an insightful analysis of the various CPC symbols mentioned in the published IP literature and their affiliated families, in order to identify historical and existing pockets of innovation (based on the functional area / industry described by the elaborate and systematic system of classifying IP); the analysis also features a discussion on the prevalent white spaces (based on CPC symbols) in this area of research.

Chapter 13 concludes the report by providing insights on anticipated developments in this domain (from the perspective of eminent industry representatives of stakeholders in this domain), and trends that are likely to shape the future of meats / meat-like products derived from non-animal sources. 

Chapter 14 is a set of appendices.

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