Shea butter is extracted from nuts of the Vitellaria Paradoxa tree native to West Africa; it can also be extracted from the Vitellaria Nilotica variant. It contains unique proteins and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Shea butter is used in the food and beverage segment as an alternative for vegetable oils and fats, especially in the chocolate and confectionary industries.
Shea butter is also used in a variety of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products due to its unsaponifiables like sterols and phenols, fatty acids like stearic and oleic acids, and high Vitamin A and Vitamin E content. These ingredients render shea butter with moisturising and conditioning properties that slows down skin ageing, combats wrinkles and shields the skin from temperature variations.
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The competition landscape in the shea butter market is highly fragmented due to a large number of players. These largely include international players and players based in West Africa, particularly Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali. Vagaries in governmental polices and a large unorganised sector causes various complexities in the market.
Increasing production capacities has been a focus area for several market players. For example, Ghana Nuts has unveiled a 3000 metric ton mega-facility in Tema with a view of expanding its exports to Europe. Such capacity increasing measures will help bring down product prices and help it compete with cheaper alternatives.
Mergers and acquisitions have been another key feature in the market. Bunge’s acquisition of IOI Loders Croklaan and Unilver’s acquisition of Sundial Brands are recent developments in this regard. R&D is also a constant feature of the market given that the market is still in a nascent stage.
Some of the key players in the market include Shea Radiance, BASF SE, Star Shea, Churchwin Trading, Olvea Group, Sophim, The Hershey Company, Cargill, Shea Therapy, Suru Chemicals, VINK Chemicals, Barry Callebaut Group, Ghana Nuts Company, Croda International, Adunni Ori, Cornelius Group, Akoma Cooperative Multipurpose Society, Jedwards International, The Savannah Fruits Company, Croda International, Bunge, Agrobotanicals, Timiniya Tuma Company, International Oils & Fats Limited, Clariant AG, The Organic Shea Butter Company, Maison Karite Sociedad Limitada and AAK AB.
Some notable brands in the shea butter market include Ivory, Sacred Shea, Naturise, Allafia, NOW, Jemimah’s Original, Kokum and Buttah.
Notably, several players specialise in the various production and processing stages of shea butter, while several others specialise in the food and beverages, cosmetic and pharmaceutical segments. This further adds to the shea butter market’s complexity.
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Drivers of the Shea Butter Market
The growing demand for cosmetic, and especially cosmetics made from natural substances, has been a leading driver for the shea butter market. Superior health and leavening properties of shea butter over other commensurate products has meanwhile driven sales in the food and beverages segment.
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Impact of Covid-19
Reduced disposable incomes globally in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis are negatively to impact the cosmetics and food and beverages sectors at large. Shea butter manufacturers will hence attempt to further bring down prices through R&D and by increasing production capacity to ensure uptake.
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The Middle East and Africa regional segment has dominated the shea butter market. This has been mainly due to a high-consumption in shea butter manufacturing countries, especially Nigeria, and growing demand for shea butter cosmetics in large Gulf economies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.
The European segment has been the other large segment and is slated to grow on account of rising shea butter demand in Europe’s food and beverages segment. North America is the other large market.
The South Asian regional segment has seen a significant rise due to a growing cosmetics industry in India and Southeast Asian nations. East Asia has also seen market growth due to rising market penetration. Latin America and Oceania too occupy a small but notable market share.
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