Shea cake is one of the by-products derived from shea nuts, the fruits of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). The shea tree is indigenous to the African Savannah, and specifically in countries such as Senegal, DR Congo, Nigeria, Mali, Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, Guinea Republic and Sudan. The shea nut tree grows on different soil types including sandy clay, sand and stony soils. It is the organic source of shea butter and shea cake, otherwise known as shea meal.
At large, global shea nut production currently dabbles around 2.5 million metric tonnes at a worth of $1.2 billion and a CAGR of 6.6%, although the shea butter market has a more massive contribution to this value than the other products. The global value has been projected to reach $3.5 billion within the next three years. Nigeria is the top producer of shea products ranging from shea butter to shea oil as well as refined shea butter cream, among others. Over 300,000 metric tonnes of shea nut are produced in Nigeria. However, only about 40% of the volume produced is exported to the global market. Ghana and Mali come close in production of shea nut. On the other hand, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Italy are among the largest importers of shea nut products.
The shea nut market in Nigeria continues to widen so much that the available volume cannot sufficiently cater to the demands. Shea nut production is found mainly in Kebbi, Kwarra, Niger and Oyo states of Nigeria. Going by available data, shea nut production has the potential to reach about $7.2m per annum if well managed. In Nigeria, the demand for shea cake is still relatively low, but it is growing. As people continue to opt for more organic foods with high nutritional value, shea nut cake keeps growing in demand, and it forms a potential business venture. Here is a comprehensive guide to starting a lucrative shea cake in Nigeria or any other part of Africa.
What Is Shea Cake?
Shea cake is a by-product of the shea nut. It is derived from the ‘waste’ of shea nut, or in other words, the substances left after the oil has been extracted from the shea nut. Shea cake has a high composition of carbohydrates and proteins and is mainly used as animal feed. It is more commonly known as shea meal.
What Is Shea Cake Production?
Shea cake production describes the steps and stages involved in processing shea waste into a cake. It also involves the distribution and sale of shea cake.
Business Opportunities In Shea Cake Production Business In Nigeria And Around The World
1). Food And Snack Production:
Thanks to its multiple health benefits, shea cake is now one of the organic snacks demanded in hotels, eateries and restaurants. Individuals who recognize the positive impacts of the shea nut cake on the human body health also buy it for consumption at home. It is rich in vitamins and minerals which foster good health. It also has a unique taste which many people prefer and contains very low sugar.
2). Supply And Distribution:
The supply and distribution of shea nut cake is an open opportunity for marketers and salespersons alike. Shea cake can be produced in small bits that can be consumed at once. This makes it easier to distribute and market to people both in public places and their homes.
3). Animal Feeds Production:
The shea cake serves as feed for ruminants, especially in its unprocessed raw state. It is cheap and easy to procure in areas where shea nut is grown. More so, the shea nut cake has been found to hold nutritional benefits for animals, but more research still needs to be conducted to verify the benefits.
Facts And Benefits Of Shea Nut Cake
- Shea cake is rich in fat and contains about 120 calories per serving
- It relieves soreness at the joints and muscle pain
- Shea cake helps to moisturize the skin
- It contains anti-inflammatory substances
- Shea cake can be eaten with other food items.
- Shea cake, like most other shea nut products, has been found to curb acne.
- Shea nut is processed mostly by women.
- Shea cake can be used to relieve nasal congestion.
- Every part of the shea nut tree is useful, ranging from the roots to the bark.
- Shea nut cake contains high levels of Vitamins E and A, which are anti-ageing agents.
- Shea cake contains nutrients that fight the free radicals that cause skin damage.
- Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast are the leaders of global shea nut.
- Shea nut production is found mainly in Kebbi, Kwarra, Niger and Oyo states of Nigeria.
How To Start A Shea Nut Cake Production Business In Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide
Extracting the material for Shea nut cake requires the following process:
1). Washing The Shea Nut:
After collecting mature shea nuts and extracting the kernels from the fruits, there is a need to wash them. This is necessary to remove all harmful substances from the nuts.
2). Selecting And Drying:
The next stage after washing the shea nut is to dry the fruits and select the bad ones out. Sort the quality kernels and dry them while disposing of the damaged ones.
3). Crushing The Kernels:
This is the point where you crush the selected and dried shea nuts. In most local places, the crushing is done manually or mechanically.
4). Grinding And Milling:
This is the stage where the crushed nuts are ground into powdery material. After grinding, the powdery substances are milled in a milling machine to process it into fine flour.
Kneading is typically done by hand, and it involves both hot and cold water. Kneading is necessary to facilitate separation of the fat and oil.
6). Boiling The Shea Nut Oil:
After the emulsification process, boiling follows. This is necessary to remove water and to further separate the water from the oil. After this, the oil is decanted to remove the residue, which you need to make the shea cake.
7). Flour Collection:
The residue separated from the oil is the flour you need to make the shea cake. Collect it and dry.
Challenges Of Shea Nut Cake Production Business In Nigeria
- Shea nut cake is still relatively unknown in most parts of Nigeria.
- Processing shea nut is labour-intensive.
- Getting the shea nut flour needed for shea nut cake baking takes a lot of processes.
- Limited government involvement in the production of shea nut products.
- Unavailability of loan facilities for shea nut farmers.
- Lack of access to the national and international markets.
- Shea nut flour is impossible to find in areas where the shea nut tree isn’t grown.
- Processing shea nut is time-consuming.
- Much of the processing is still done manually because of the absence of machines for smooth production.
- Shea nut cake production requires lots of awareness to thrive as a business in Nigeria.
- Most cake lovers prefer the regular cake to the shea nut cake.
- The shea nut cake has a strong taste and smell which some people find appalling.
To Sum It Up
Shea nut cake production still requires much awareness in Nigeria and Africa at large. This makes it a worthy area or investment for a smart businessperson. There is still the need to create and expand the market for it, but as people continue to realize the need for snacks and foods with high health benefits, they will continue to turn to the shea nut cake both for special occasions and everyday consumption.
The shea cake production business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide sales network. If you’re looking for a lucrative business to venture into, the shea cake production business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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