Produce is as much a hero as protein in McDonald’s Premium McWraps, the 2014 MenuMasters winner for Best Menu/Line Extension. And its innovative, takeout-friendly box is something special, too.
The line of meal-sized wrap sandwiches, built on large flour tortillas and filled with crispy or grilled chicken, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and on-trend sauces, was successfully launched last spring with Chicken & Ranch, Chicken & Bacon and Sweet Chili Chicken varieties. In the fall, the Southwest Premium McWrap, a limited-time offering, brought a lively regional twist.
“A lot of credit for these really has to go to our global team,” said Dan Coudreaut, vice president of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA. McDonald’s menu makers in Austria and Poland developed the wrap platform and the two-piece box that makes them easy to eat on the go. In addition, the sauce on the Sweet Chili Chicken McWrap was the brainchild of McDonald’s Australia.
Even so, McWraps “were not plug-and-play right onto the menu” in the United States, Coudreaut said. Much work was done at the Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters to make them relevant to American consumers, including perfecting ingredients that resonate domestically, such as bacon and buttermilk-ranch sauce.
“The platform is really the big idea of McWrap, regardless of any ingredients you use,” Coudreaut said. “It can go to Japan with hoisin sauce or teriyaki or wasabi, if it makes sense. It could go to North Carolina with a little barbecue. And it could make sense in France with some goat cheese and shrimp.”
What makes McDonald's Premium McWraps a winner:
1. Produce: Spring greens, lettuce, tomato slices and cucumbers peek out, signaling freshness. English cucumber is a star — mild, sweet, virtually seedless and uniform for slicing.
2. Chicken: with rising beef and pork prices, Americans are eating more chicken, both at home and away. McDonald’s consumers now expect to have a choice of crispy or grilled chicken items, Coudreaut said.
3. Sauces: The item lends itself well to the use of various sauces. Buttermilk ranch is widely appealing, while creamy habanero ranchis a spicy niche flavor. Cream garlic is a yogurt-based sauce in the style of tzatziki and raita.
4. Flour tortilla: The white-flour McWrap tortilla is blasted quickly in the steamer to make it warm and pliable. The steam also makes it a little tacky to help seal the edges and improve neatness and portability.
5. Box: It can be unzipped by pulling a tear strip, and the bottom half fits nicely in the hand or in a car cup holder. “The box was one of those key attributes we couldn’t lose,” Coudreaut said.