The aspartame-free brand – containing plant resin from the mastic tree - was launched last year and picked up the 2016 yummex Middle East innovation award for ‘Best Hard & Soft Candy Product’.
Mastika is currently sold in Lebanon, for example on board the private jets of Cedar Executive, a luxury affiliate company of Middle East Airlines.
The gum is also sold in Kuwait in pharmacies, Coops and high-end stores, and recently entered Saudi Arabia (KSA). Master Chewing Gum & Candies is also currently in discussions with a distributor in Qatar.
GCC focus; South America phase-two
“Our current priority is to focus on the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries where there’s a big potential and demand for Mastika,” Nael Shaar, managing partner and marketing strategist at Master Chewing Gum & Candies, told ConfectioneryNews.
“We have entered the KSA market and have started selling in Riyadh,” he said, adding Saudi’s Mastika importer is from the country’s royal family.
“Our second phase for Mastika is to focus on the South American market (Brazil etc.) because there’s a high number of Lebanese and Arab immigrants living there,” said Shaar.
Master is targeting 2017 revenues of at least $500,000 for Mastika in Lebanon. It hopes the brand while rake in $900,000 in Saudi Arabia, $150,000 in Kuwait and $200,000 in Qatar for the year.
“For the two upcoming years, we will be focusing on the Mastika brand mainly and the Gourmet range,” said Shaar.
Master’s Cheque Gourmet Gum– launched last year – is a premium gum range with unconventional flavors such as mojito and birthday cake, licorice and frozen lemonade.
Around 60% of Master Chewing Gum & Candies sales come from its home market in Lebanon, while it also exports to countries such as Canada, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and nations in North Africa.
The Lebanese company began operations in 1960 as part of sister company, Mo Gandour. It split from Mo Gandour in 1997. Today, Master is owned by third generation family members.