Shea Butter in the food industry

Shea butter in the food industry is widely used because it’s fat composition is very similar to the fat composition of cocoa butter which makes it uniquely placed to become a Cocoa Butter Equivalent (CBE) or Cocoa Butter Improver (CBI) for use in ice-creams, chocolates and biscuits.  The natural shortage of cocoa through plantation degradation, plant disease and climate change; combined with heavy market demand for chocolate from developing countries has led to increased pressure on the use of cocoa as a fat, and the search for alternatives.  Which is why in June 2000, as part of directive 2000/36/EC, the European Union authorized the use of shea butter in the chocolate industry as a substitute for cocoa butter (with a maximum of 5% of vegetable fat in the chocolate). The substitution was already authorized in various regions of the world such as the United States (with a maximum of 5%), Japan (between 5% and 8%) and Eastern Europe (up to 15%).


Shea in Chocolate


The fat percentage of a typical chocolate filling contains approximately 30% fat, so the choice and combination of fats is essential to provide a great customer taste and texture experience. The unique properties of edible Shea fat, adds significant versatility to your product development including coatings and finished goods. Using shea delivers the following beneficial properties:


Shea Butter – an ethical replacement for Palm Oil


We are not just avoiding negative impact but creating real positive social and environmental change.

Palm oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil globally. Its use within personal care and food products is popular due to its cost, high melting point (providing a replacement for trans-fats (banned recently by US FDA).

The Palm Oil industry has made strides towards more sustainable practices, but the harsh truth is that palm oil production has historically resulted in significant deforestation with serious environmental impact. (READ MORE BUTTON, CTR: innovating for climate page)


Superior quality, clean and ethically produced Shea Butter


We produce a superior quality product by keeping primary processing in Burkina and putting clean agri-processing centres (eco processing centres) at the heart of communities, part owned by the women that run them.  A game-changing force for good that has redefined the shea butter industry and ensures value is driven back down the value chain to the women of Burkina.


Shea Butter – a healthy alternative to hydrogenated fats


Unrefined shea butter is a traditional cooking  fat, that when heated melts to an oil with a characteristically smoky nutty aroma . It has been used for generations in the Savannah Shea Belt as a healthy fat.   Unrefined Shea Butter is an all natural, vegan-friendly alternative to other lards and butters.  Shea butter is also a healthier alternative to transfat-rich, hyrdrogenated oils often used in the confectionery and baked goods manufacturers. Shea Butter is also a valuable CBR or Cocoa Butter Replacement.


Sustainable Shea Butter –for the Chocolate & Confectionery Industry


Our sustainable shea enables you to update your product offering in line with growing consumer demands and awareness to purchase products which demonstrate an ethical sourcing policy. We help you deliver on your commitment to take real sustainable action in measureable ways, whilst being commercially sound and inclusive.


Tell the truth!


Our Eco-Processing Centers are the heart and hub of the rural community demonstrating the impact of your ethical supply chain policy in terms of value to the local community, enabling you to demonstrate through images, ground roots feedback and engagement, the truth around the positive economic, climate and social impact your sustainably sourced shea programme has.



Eco Processing Centers – first in the world to address community shea and agri- processing needs in Africa on a serious scale, with women and communities at the heart, a blueprint for success.  


To find out more about our eco processing centres click here  >



Eco-processing centres – What it means for your supply chain








Zero Impact Shea Butter, be a part of the force for good



Partnering with Serious Shea takes your business to the cutting edge of transparency & responsibility:


Contact Us

Let's discuss your ingredient sourcing requirements!