First Bites

McDonald's New McWraps Debut in South Florida

McDonald's has entered the lighter-fare-for-spring game with the launch of its new chicken McWraps.

Although the fast-food chain has offered Snack Wraps for some time, these new McWraps are meal-size, using ten-inch steamed flour tortillas. They're available in three varieties: chicken 'n' bacon, sweet chili chicken, and chicken 'n' ranch. As usual, you can choose between grilled or crispy. Each wrap sells for $3.99.

The wraps are now available in South Florida and will be launched nationwide next week, according to a McDonald's spokesperson. We tried the Sweet Chili Chicken McWrap.

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Though the snack wraps are simply wrapped in paper, the McWrap is encased in a cardboard box.

Pull a tab in the middle of the box and you get a clever little handle -- complete with drip tray. Wonder how long it's going to take Taco Bell to "borrow" this idea. (Have you ever tried to eat a burrito in a car?)

We opened the wrap and were surprised to find fresh spring greens instead of brownish iceberg lettuce. There were even cucumbers. The wrap itself was warm and fresh. Alas, the chicken was standard fast-food chicken -- slightly rubbery with a salty aftertaste.

According to the McDonald's website, the McWrap contains 360 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 1,030 milligrams of sodium. If you want crispy chicken, be prepared to pay with your health. Nutritional values for the crispy (AKA fried) are 520 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 1,200 milligrams of sodium.

All in all, we enjoyed the addition of the greens and the cucumber, but fast-food restaurants will have to stop with the sodium and fat-laden dressings to keep up with the healthier lifestyles people are adopting. There's nothing wrong with having a cheeseburger on the menu, because there's a time and a place for indulgence. But we'd like to see seemingly healthful options have less fat and sodium in the nutrition count.

The fast-food monolith has launched some items that haven't gone over well in the recent past -- including the unloved Fish McBites, which some people blame for the restaurant chain's recent poor sales performance.

CBS reported that McDonald's had a 3.3 percent loss in a key sales figure in March 2013. Though that number doesn't sound like a big drop in revenue, U.S. sales were up by 11.1 percent in February 2012 and 2.7 percent in 2011.

Maybe McDonald's has a chance to regain its sales growth by offering healthful-sounding options that are actually healthful. It's worth pondering.

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