Shea Butter

Shea butter is an off-white or ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. Shea butter is a triglyceride derived mainly from stearic acid and oleic acid. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion.

Nigeria is one of the richest Countries in the world endowed with oil both beneaeth the earth and above the earth.
Shea nuts are the source of Nigeria’s crop on tree tops,it can aptly be called “green tree” its

high economical value in the new and emerging world order.Shea butter is highly valued commodity

among the world’s cosmetic companies, and as its demand has grown, so also its potential for exploitation and exportation.
Statistics shows that only 25% to 30% of the Shea nuts produced in Nigeria wild are collected. Apart from its role as an important raw material, Shea butter is used in the manufacturing of chocolate and other confectionaries. It is also used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. These product are not only needed in Europe and united states but are highly priced in Nigeria which in fact, currently import them from abroad.The major locations where Shea nut can be found are: Oyo State, Plateau State and Bauchi.

What are Shea nuts?

These are the fruits of the shea tree horizontaly known as Vitellaria. There are two main commercial species in Africa- the vitellaria paradoxa- mostly found in West African countries like Ghana, Cote d”voire, Burkina faso, mali Republic of benin and mostly in abundant in Nigeria. The second species called vitellaria is found mainly in Uganda.
The fruit is usually 5cm long and 3-4cm wide, elliptic, a yellow or green berry with tick butter-like, mucos pricap contian one seed which is oval or round. it is red in colour (the shea nut of trade). The second seed is normaly surrounded by a fragile shinning shell with large hilium on a broad base.

Understanding Grades and Standards

The United States Agency for International Development and other companies have suggested a classification system for shea butter separating it 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, and C. The color of raw (grade A) butter ranges from cream (like whipped butter) to grayish yellow. It has a nutty aroma which is removed in the other grades. Grade C is pure white. While the level of vitamin content can be affected by refining, up to 95% of vitamin content can be removed from refined grades (i.e., grade C) of shea butter while reducing contamination levels to undetectable levels.

These grades are determined through laboratory tests. They include the following criteria:
1. Triglyceride and free fatty acids fraction (moisturizing potential of product)
2. Cinnamic fraction (determines age of the product)
3. Micro-organism growth and culture (purity of product)
4. Clinical anti-histemmic activity (healing potential of product)
5. Vitamins A and E (protective potential of product)
6. Physical examination (determines cleanliness and moisture of product)
7. Melting range (determines minimum purity of product).
When done together, these tests help quantify the “non-saponifiable fraction” in shea butter; the higher the fraction, the better the classification and price an exporter can demand. It is this “non-saponifiable fraction” that determines the healing properties in which the natural products and cosmetics industries are most interested. Without a Class A rating, shea butter will not have the full complement of healing benefits that manufacturers are interested in purchasing.

Traditional Shea Butter Processing Method

1. the nuts are sorted
2. the nuts are hand washed
3. the nuts are sun-dried
4. the nuts are pounded with traditional wood pestles or a breaker
5. the crushed nuts are roasted in large metal pots
6. the roasted almonds are processed in a grinder to produce a brownish paste
7. the brownish paste is processed again between two granite stones
8. the brownish paste is then hand mixed and kneaded during many hours with addition of a small quantity of water. This produces a white/off-white thick foamy substance to obtain finally a whitish paste, the shea butter (This is the churning step we call ”barattage”)


– (purification step) the shea butter is added with some water in cauldrons and heated: the impurities fall down
– (filtration step) the purified shea butter is decanted and filtered when poured in the clean

Factors influencing Shea butter Markets

Increased demand for natural/organic products in developed countries brought on by increased
consumer awareness of the natural “healing” benefits of shea butter.
1. Increased demand for products containing shea butter, such as cosmetics and chocolates, in
markets with rising incomes.
2. Increased prices.
3. Standardization of EU regulations on other vegetable fats in chocolate besides cocoa.
4. Increased supply and improved quality of shea butter.
5. Effectiveness of funding and training by non-governmental and international organizations.
6. Increased private sector investment

Specifications for Shea butter

Origin: Nigeria
Type: Butter
Form: Solid
Grade: A
Color: Cream yellow
Variety: Vitellaria paradoxa
Odor: Nutty aroma
No chemicals, No Detergents
FFA: <3%
Moisture: <1%
Iodine value: 62.1/100g
Saponification value: 179mg KHO/g
Melting point: 35-45C
Flash point: >250C
Solubility: insoluble in water

Packaging Cartons 25 kg, white plastic pails 25 kg net,15kg plastic buckets

Storage Store in original unopened packaging in a cool dry place

Shelf life 24 months in original unopened packaging.

USD2,600.00 / Ton

1) 100% confirmed L/C at sight, confirmed
2) 30% advance, 70% balance payment before shipment

21 days after confirmation of L/C or advance payment