(VEGETARIAN) CANADA — McDonald’s is now expanding its menu to include meatless veggie wraps in Canada. The vegetarian wraps contain cheese but it can also be omitted for a vegan option. The Mediterranean Veggie and the Santa Fe Veggie wraps will be a welcomed change since McDonald’s has not introduced a vegetarian option in over a decade. Some are skeptical about the wraps, claiming any vegan or vegetarian support for McDonald’s would be a contradiction due to their mainly meat-based menu. However, others are optimistic about the chance for meat eaters to be exposed to more veggie dishes and claim that it is a step in the right direction. For now, the wraps will only be served in Canada but some Americans are hopeful they will make their way south of the border to the United States. Read on for more on the fast food chain’s other attempts to migrate menu items. — Global Animal
McDonald's  Photo Credit: NationalPost.com
McDonald’s introduces two new veggie wraps: the Mediterranean and the Santa Fe. Photo Credit: NationalPost.com

National Post, Misty Harris

For the first time in more than a decade, McDonald’s Canada is going meatless with its entrée offerings. But Tuesday’s nationwide unveiling won’t showcase the menu item vegetarians have been expecting.

Despite being one of the few remaining quick-service chains without a veggie burger – a failed experiment at the Golden Arches between 2002 and 2004 – the brand is instead going the wrap route, with two new meatless Signature McWraps aimed squarely at the 71 per cent of Canadians who seek veggie-only options “at least sometimes.” Wraps are popular – particularly with the Millennial group.

“People always ask for the veggie burger. So this we’re going to surprise them with,” said John Betts, CEO of McDonald’s Canada. “It’s a much more contemporary product, and I think it tastes a lot better.”

The Mediterranean Veggie wrap will feature garlic hummus, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, lettuce, crispy onions and a creamy Mediterranean sauce, while the Santa Fe Veggie wrap will be stuffed with fire-roasted corn, black beans, a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack, tomatoes, red onions, lettuce and tortilla chips, along with a chilli lime glaze and southwest sauce. Both will retail for $4.39 plus tax.

“When you’re revamping your business, you’re going to focus on the things that will have the broadest reach,” said Betts, pointing to McCafe coffee as an example. “The reality is that veggie … still doesn’t have the drawing power of some of the other options out there.”

Anne Parks, director of menu management for McDonald’s Canada, said the McWrap line — imported from Poland — has been extensively focus-group tested and tweaked to suit Canuck tastes. The use of wholewheat tortilla shells is unique to Canada, for example, while the tortilla chips were added to the Santa Fe to suit our love of mixed mouthfeel.

“Canadians like crispy, crunchy things, so we often add onion crisps or red pepper crisps,” said Parks, who travels the world to determine which international McDonald’s dishes might successfully cross over.

Other attempts to migrate menu items have proven less winning. For instance, Parks has twice tried to bring in Japan’s Shaka Shaka Chicken — a poultry patty to which consumers add their own seasoning and shake in a bag — and twice been shut down. Tortilla chips were added to the Santa Fe wrap to suit Canadians’ love of mixed mouthfeel. “I think it’s very cool. Canadians aren’t loving it yet,” she said, laughing.

Because McDonald’s uses independent menu development teams, the brand’s myriad markets are able to satisfy local tastes without sacrificing familiarity. For example, the McLobster is mostly limited to Atlantic Canada, while poutine and fried eggs are Quebec staples, but such classics as McDonald’s fries are prepared and served virtually the same way at locations around the world.

Chris Young, global senior director of menu innovation, said it’s the reason why meatless has long dominated the brand’s offerings in India, where cows are sacred, but died a quick death in Canada – via 2002′s veggie burger – when quality suffered as a result of poor sales. He’s convinced, however, that meatless entrees are ripe for a second chance here.

“You see things come back and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, we’re trying this again?’” said Young, laughing. “But sometimes things aren’t introduced at the right time; people just weren’t ready before.”

More National Post: http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/08/27/mcdonalds-to-serve-meatless-wraps

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