I'm so completely insulated by my middle-class American existence, I feel a little embarrassed that I didn't know this. (I also might have a job involving the sale of products using said ingredient.)
That being said: shea butter, which is known popularly in my neck of the woods as a moisturizing agent in skin cream, is used as a cooking oil in West Africa. Neat!
Also: man, we will put just about anything on our skin, won't we? I wonder if anyone would buy lard if the Body Shop sold it for $20 per tin.