Talking luxury gum with Nael El Shaar

Talking luxury gum with Nael El Shaar


Nael El Shaar, founder and owner of The Mastika Gum Co., comes from a family that has been working in confectionery for more than 60 years. We caught up with him to discuss his luxury gum.

How did you come up with the idea to create the world’s most expensive gum?
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 their production costs as much as possible by offering low-quality products in cheap packaging. Nobody thought that there was a market segment ready to pay the price of a high-quality product presented in packaging so glamorous that it can be taken out of a handbag without embarrassment during a social gathering. That’s why I decided to create MASTIKA in 2015. It took us months to source the best ingredients, achieve the proper texture and create the proper packaging. The result is there; we are offering MASTIKA, a sugar and aspartame-free mastic gum with a natural flavor that lasts more than an hour. The response to this product was and still is very positive.

How were you able to successfully market MASTIKA to seven-star hotels and palaces?
From day one, we decided to focus only on high-end markets. We supply royal families across the GCC and are only available in select shops. We also sell online via Amazon and Noon.

Are you considering a special line of gum for the hospitality industry? 
Our brand is available in the rooms and lobbies of a number of luxury hotels. These hotels can print their logo on the exterior shrink packaging. We grant the same benefits to airlines that offer MASTIKA to their first and business class passengers.

 Do you have any plans to expand into Europe?
We are already working with Amazon UK and are looking into the possibility of a collaboration with Harrods.

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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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