In Italy, snail slime is gaining traction as an ingredient in products like anti-wrinkle creams, cough syrups, and antacids. “For over 20 years they’ve been making products with snail slime,” says Simone Sampo, the president of the International Snail Breeding Institute in Cherasco, Italy. “But in the last six months there’s been an increase of more than 40 percent in consumption…. More and more people are discovering this product for the incredible benefits it has for the skin, the respiratory system and the stomach.”
Snail slime’s skin benefits—moisturizing and faster healing—were first noticed by Chilean farmers gathering snails for France’s gastronomy market. Research later confirmed that the slime was rich in vitamins, proteins, glycolic acid, allantoin, collagen, and elastin.
Sampo eventually developed a process to extract the slime without harming the snails or reducing the quality of the slime. The snails are first sprayed with ozone to relax them, then they are sprayed with a natural substance that stimulates slime production. “We consider this machine as a spa for snails,” says Sampo. Twenty kilos of snails can produce approximately three liters of slime in the one-hour extraction process. A snail can safely undergo multiple extractions a day.
ISB believes consumers overcome the “ick” factor because of their desire to use natural products instead of synthetic chemicals. IBS’s range of products contain at least 70-90% snail slime.