[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

This past week, McDonald's introduced a new Snack Wrap to its menu—the Angus Snack Wrap. A half-patty of their premium line, the Angus Burger, swaddled in a flour tortilla. I'll admit, I was not looking forward to this assignment. I checked out the Mac Snack Wraps months ago and thought the chicken options were much more palatable than the burger ones; I wasn't impressed by the Angus Burger in the Burger King-McDonald's showdown, either. Putting the two together didn't seem like such a good idea.

The Angus Snack Wraps come in three varieties: Deluxe, Mushroom and Swiss, and Bacon and Cheese. All are on a flour tortilla, all are roughly the same size as the Mac Snack Wrap, but are priced 50 cents more at $1.99 apiece. In true advertising fashion, the signs and commercials depict the contents popping out of the tortilla—whereas in reality, the tortilla engulfs them.

The Deluxe (410 calories, pictured at top) has all the classic toppings: lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, mustard and mayo. I was actually surprised; it wasn't awful. The "Angus" meat was better than I remembered from trying the Angus burgers—it definitely had a pronounced ground beef taste, whereas some fast-food patties truly don't taste like meat at all. (Overcooked and dry meat, but real beef nonetheless.) The toppings weren't bad, either: tomatoes better than plenty of pink, gritty fast-food slices I've had, crisp pickles and lettuce, just enough red onion. It ended up tasting like a real burger on a tortilla.


What you get: a lotta tortilla.

Next up was the Mushroom and Swiss (430 calories)—just that, with mayonnaise. Like its burger counterpart, the mayo still dominates. But given the nature of a wrap, where the 3-D distribution of ingredients can vary, mine had the mayo loaded to one side, so I could nibble down the other side and taste just the meat, cheese, and mushrooms. Eaten that way, it's not bad, though the "Real" Swiss Cheese (as they labeled it) wasn't phenomenal, or even well-melted, and the mushrooms were quite chewy.


Last up came the Bacon and Cheese (390 calories). I was unimpressed. My first wrap was so drowned in ketchup I went back and asked for another. The onion, cheese, and pickles were the same as the Deluxe, and the bacon wasn't bad, but I still preferred the Deluxe, which didn't rely so heavily on ketchup.

If you have to eat one, I'd recommend the Deluxe. None of the three have much to recommend them—same old Angus burgers, in a somewhat awkward tortilla. I've got no problem with new McDonald's offerings, and I've been reasonably satisfied with their movement into the beverage market (smoothies, blended coffees). But the Angus Snack Wraps have no real reason to exist. They don't even live up to their name: they were all so heavy, I felt like the "snack" element had been completely eliminated.

One of my commenters last week said that McDonald's shouldn't try to be a "coffee shop or a smoothie bar"; that they should stick to what they do. I disagree: because for quite awhile now, McDonald's has been more than a burger joint. (Just look at what they serve around the world.) They're a manufacturer and distributor of McDonald's-brand food products. They don't sell the world's greatest hamburgers; they never have. What they do incredibly well, though, is manufacture and distribute food products under their brand. Their competitive advantage is ubiquity, speed, and consistency—not quality food. I'm glad they're at least beginning to explore new, possibly healthier fare. Even if the Angus Snack Wraps aren't that.


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