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International markets

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Today, the custom of eating snails has been kept alive, in addition to France or Spain, in countries such as Belgium and Italy, where the consumption of this unique land mollusk has required the importation from other producing countries such as Argentina, Chile and Peru, especially in those where although its consumption is somewhat sporadic in luxury hotels and restaurants, its present in their fields regularly and in large numbers.

Although there are no official records of the consumption of snails in our country, by not being a regulated or contemplated by law product, from various specialized sectors in Spain an approximate annual consumption of 14,000 tons has been established, which requires about 5,000 tons of imported product to meet the gastronomical needs generated in recent years.

The data places our country as the second largest importer of snails, behind France, which as the first consumer in the world with about 65,000 tons per year, required the import of about half of its consumption.  According to recently published data, in the U.S. and Japan the demand has doubled in recent years.

The most consumed snail is Helix aspersa, at a rate of 80%, being an excellent and highly appreciated gastronomic product in France and being required in international markets for the quality of its meat.

The imports of fresh and frozen snails to the EU require a health certificates granted by the certificated organisms or authorities in accordance with community legislation. The decision regulates the specific health conditions applicable to the trade and import of snails intended for human consumption, and compels the member States to ensure that the trade of shelled, cooked or preserved snails meets certain conditions.

The snail can be exported in various states:

- Living.

- Frozen.

- Semi-processed.

- Processed.

European customers ask for live product from November to March, when it is in short supply in the northern hemisphere, with weekly scheduled deliveries, as they need to provide for the food processing industry. 

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