We sat down with Nael EL Shaar, the Creator & Owner of MASTIKA, who guided us through the success story of THE MASTIKA. Based in Lebanon, THE MASTIKA GUM is the world’s first Uncoated Natural Mastic Gum that is sugar-free & aspartame-free. MASTIKA is currently considered to be the world’s most expensive gum.
What is the story behind the birth of The Mastika Gum?
I am part of a family that has been working in the confectionery sector for more than 60 years. Suffice to say that I have been immersed in it from a very young age. I noticed that mastic was a popular taste throughout the MENA region and that most companies were considering mastic gum as a mass product.
To keep prices competitive, these companies were minimizing as much as possible their production costs by offering low quality products in cheap packaging.
Obviously, nobody thought that there was a market segment that was ready to pay the price of a high quality product presented in a glamourous packaging that can be taken out of a handbag without embarrassment during a social gathering. That’s why in 2015, I took the decision to create MASTIKA.
It took us months to source the best ingredients, to reach the proper chew, and to elaborate the proper packaging and here we are today, offering them MASTIKA: A mastic gum with a flavor that last more than an hour instead of a flavor that only last a minute or two.
You have developed the world’s most expensive gum. Could you please detail your product?
MASTIKA GUM targets sophisticated women that are ready to pay the right price for quality. We are using the best gumbase and natural mastic flavor to produce MASTIKA.
We also decided to ban aspartame from the brand because of the doubts that exist about its effects on health. This is why MASTIKA is the world first uncoated Natural Mastic Gum that is sugar and aspartame free. Regarding the glamourous and chic packaging, instead of the usual cardboard pack or plastic wrap, MASTIKA is offered in
a rigid white tin box decorated with embossed golden arabesques that mixes oriental and contemporary tribal designs. It reminds the consumer of the oriental roots of the product while emphasizing the modernity and dynamism of its consumers.
It is an expensive gum
Actually, it is the world’s most expensive gum as we are selling the tin of 12 pcs for4$. But as the French say: “le prix s’oublie, la qualité reste”. Loosely translated, that means that the quality you bought endures long after you have forgotten the price.
How did you decide to produce the Mastika Gum? What are the main features of your products and their positive effects on health?
As I answered in the previous questions, consumers are looking for quality, healthier alternatives and new products to try out. This is why we have decided not to use aspartame anymore and use Xylitol which is more expensive but healthier.
Can you tell us about your product development capability, product range and capacity?
At THE MASTIKA GUM CO, we are launching every two years a new product under the brand name of MASTIKA (Same amazing taste, same amazing quality with a new twist).
We began selling MASTIKA (12 pieces per tin) in 2015.
In 2018, we decided to create MASTIKA – GOLD EDITION.
It’s the 1st Luxurious Natural Mastic Gum with Edible 22 Carats Gold. Each tin contains 24 pieces of MASTIKA gum in which parcels of edible gold are included on each piece of gum. The selling price of each tin is 20$.
Could you detail your export business? What percentage of your production goes to abroad and which markets are your main markets, which ones are you targeting?
We export 80% of our production mainly to the GCC countries. We sell our products only in selective shops, high end gourmet stores, pharmacies and special events (Gala, weddings etc..).
We are currently looking for a well-established distributor to handle our brand in Turkey.
Do you currently have business relations with Turkey?
Not yet but we are open to all inquiries. If someone is interested, they can send us their profile to be reviewed internally to the following address: [email protected]
Do you have any plan to launch new products in short term?
In 2021, we are planning to launch the first Natural Mastic Gum with Collagen under the brand name of MASTIKA – COLLAGEN EDITION. It will be offered in a classy pink tin that will includes a small mirror (A first in the industry)
Do you have any international awards in your success story?
MASTIKA has been granted the prestigious INNOVATION AWARD for the BEST HARD & SOFT CANDY Category back in November 2016 at the famous Yummex – Gulfood (Dubai). As you know, Yummex is the leading international trade fair for the confectionery and snacks market in the MENA REGION. In 2019, MASTIKA GOLD, has been granted the prestigious INNOVATION AWARD at FOODEX – SAUDI (Jeddah), which is also a leading international trade fair for the confectionery and snacks market in the MENA REGION.
Is there anything that you would like to highlight for the name of The Mastika Gum or for the sake of the industry?
We are not the only ones, but we are the best.