Where does Shea Butter come from?
Shea Butter’s origin takes us all the way to beautiful Africa. More specifically it comes from the so-called “African Shea Belt” as shown here.
Shea Butter is produced in roughly 21 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Guinea.
Out of these countries, the most common sources of quality shea butter are Ghana, Nigeria and Northern Uganda.
There are two tree sub-species that yield shea butter nuts. The first is Vitellaria Paradoxa from West Africa (Ghana and Nigeria). The second is Vitellaria Nilotica from East Africa (Uganda).
Both shea tree species can grow up to 50 feet, and it can take anywhere from 40 to 50 years to mature and start producing shea nuts.
Difference between tree species
Each of the two tree species produces slightly different butters. Shea Butter from West Africa is more dense and clay-like. While the shea produced in East Africa is creamier. Other than that, both butters are comparable in terms of quality and nutrient content.
Difficulties in sourcing high-quality shea
The ongoing civil unrest in many of the countries where shea butter originates makes it difficult to source high quality Shea Butter. Companies outside of Africa find it challenging to locate shea butter growers that can provide fresh shea butter in high volume. Purchasing shea butter from brand new companies that pop up on Amazon is a risk because their shea butter source can be questionable. On the other hand buying shea butter directly from the villages we do not recommend due to customs and FDA regulations that are hard to follow even for an experienced exporter.
Better Shea Butter has years of experience in this field and has built relationships with dependable women co-ops to source fresh, pure, and Unrefined Shea Butter year round. You can trust our shea butter is always of the highest quality and produced under fair conditions.
How fresh is your shea butter?
Knowing the origin of your shea butter is important, but how shea butter is made and processed is equally vital.
We offer year-round fresh shea butter that is fair trade, ethically soured and harvested. Our women co-op in Ghana harvests fresh nuts every summer and goes through a procedure of washing, sorting, and extracting the butter per African traditions. Part of these selected nuts are processed into Unrefined Shea Butter and sent to us in Austin TX for packaging and distributing, while others are set aside for later production. When we approach a low supply of Shea Butter available, the nuts that had been set aside get processed into fresh shea, and the cycle continues until the next year’s harvest arrives.
Best Shea Butter
We love our shea butter and we believe you will too. When you order shea or any other butter from us, we will ship it from our factory and warehouse in Austin, TX within 24 hours and you will receive it within 2-3 days. We look forward to your order!