DAEJEON, May 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Coffee has become more than just a drink, an important part of everyday life for South Koreans.
Now, coffee comes in various shapes and sizes, including cups, cans, coffee mixes, and instant coffee.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), 543 patents applied for in the past five years (2014 to 2018) were related to coffee, a 69 percent increase from the previous five years (2009 to 2013).
In recent years, coffee patents have increasingly reflected consumer needs, ranging from flavor to health.
Patents related to roasting (10 percent), extraction (7.8 percent), flavor boost (8.5 percent), and others have dropped in number over the past five years, while patents with added functional features increased from 19.6 percent in 2009 to 59.8 percent last year.
Functional features include adding health supplements, and fermenting coffee beans or extracts to reduce caffeine while maintaining high levels of polyphenol and other useful substances.
There are also products that contain red ginseng, oriental raisin tree, angelica, and other recipes used as herb medicine, coffee mixed with green tea to reduce side effects caused by caffeine, and those that contain bo tree leaf and calamansi extracts known to have detox effects.
“More patents are being submitted to meet consumer demand and find exclusive sales strategy in the fiercely competitive coffee market,” said Shin Kyung-a, head of food, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries evaluation at the KIPO.
“Coffee products that meet consumer demand, while maintaining flavor and taste, are only expected to increase in the future.”
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)