Monday, September 8, 2014


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Shea butter is produced from the boiling and crushing of Shea nuts. Shea butter is graded based on a number of factors. For some buyers, it could be based on the percentage of the expected vital constituents present in the sample while some other buyers use the level of refining and contamination present as their criteria.

Based on the level of refining done and contamination present, shea butter is now classified into five grades: A (raw or unrefined, extracted using water), B (refined), C (highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane), D (lowest uncontaminated grade), E (with contaminants).
Commercial grades are A, B, C. The color of raw (grade A) butter ranges from cream (like whipped butter) to grayish yellow, and it has a nutty aroma which is removed in the other grades. Grade C is pure white. Grade A retains the most natural vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin E, which are partially lost in the other grades.

The color of raw (grade A) butter ranges from cream (like whipped butter) to grayish yellow, and it has a nutty aroma which is removed in the other grades. Grade C is pure white. Grade A retains the most natural vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin E, which are partially lost in the other grades.
Shea butter buyers may also specify its iodine value and a melting point of between 30c and 40c. The product should also be free of foreign matter.
With a production capacity of over 500,000 MT annually, Nigeria is the leading producer of Shea nut and butter in the world. However due to issues around quality, the nation is yet to full tap into the benefit of the expanding market for Shea nut and butter.

Based on quality and industrial application, Shea butter can be classified into the following namely Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics, Chocolate and confectionery.

In terms of market share, the Chocolate and Confectionery market represents about 95% while the Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals market represent 5% of the market share.

Major European importing companies are primarily based in Denmark, Sweden and the UK. Denmark and the UK each imports well over 50,000 MT annually while Sweden imports are estimated at 25,000 MT annually. Fewer imports were recorded by France, as importers there are more interested in Shea butter as opposed to nuts.

The market is not open to much speculation and trades are done in a closed circuit dominated by the Europeans. Japan importers complain of being unable to break into the Europeans established network of clients and suppliers.

Shea butter is becoming increasing popular as an ingredient in cosmetics and soaps, especially in France and the US. Chocolate and confectionery products account for 95% of Shea butter demand, with only 5% currently used for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

The price of Shea nuts and butter follows the movement in the price of cocoa beans and butter but a sustainable lower price because it is only a substitute for cocoa butter in chocolate.

Nigeria, currently exports about 50,000 tons of shea butter annually, is believed to account for almost 60 per cent of the world’s supply of shea butter and allied derivatives valued at about $3.8 billion every year.

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Report Code: FORA/2014/SHEABUTTERPRODUCTION/266538830000222

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