Bunge Loders Croklaan, recently received a “no questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to its Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) notice for a new shea ingredient. The FDA letter effectively allows the use of shea olein—the soft fraction of shea butter—in the manufacturing and distribution of a variety of U.S. products including baked goods, snacks, spreads, sauces, frozen dairy desserts and more.
“Bunge Loders Croklaan is excited to expand its U.S. portfolio with the soft fraction of shea butter—a non-GMO ingredient that delivers high-stability and excellent mouthfeel in bakery, confectionery, and prepared foods,” said Tyronna Capers, director of marketing. “This new product also links directly to our shea processing facility in Ghana and our shea sustainability program in West Africa—‘Where Life Grows’—which was set up with the objective to empower woman shea collectors, create socio- economic value in their communities, and conserve and regenerate the shea landscape.”
This shea ingredient meets the U.S. food market’s rising demand for non-GMO and sustainability, while optimizing necessary shelf-stability, taste, and texture. It further serves as a great ingredient in key applications like cookies, cakes, firmer fillings, glazes, and spreads.
Given the continued growth of the U.S. food oil market, and considering that shea aligns with its key demand drivers, West African shea exports to the U.S. are expected to increase. This is anticipated to positively impact the economy of West Africa and the communities linked to shea crushing and collecting.
This soft fraction of shea butter is the second GRAS recognized shea ingredient. In 1998, the firm fraction of shea butter—shea stearin—was recognized as GRAS in the U.S. for use in confections and frostings, coatings of soft candy, and sweet sauces and toppings. With this second shea ingredient, customers now have a broader range of shea options to help meet needs across consumer trends, functionality, and sensory.