The time? 2008. The place? A German McDonald’s. There, supermodel Heidi Klum — whose career as a Victoria’s Secret Angel and “Project Runway” host was red hot — held up a plastic tray carrying three tortilla-wrapped pieces of breaded chicken garnished with shredded lettuce. The event was called “Snack Meets Style with Heidi Klum,” and it served as a promotion for the McDonald’s Snack Wrap.
The photographs from the event, which eventually made their way to American tabloids, are a weird little time capsule. In them, Klum blows kisses to the camera with one hand and holds a Snack Wrap in the other, or gives a wide smile while holding up several Snack Wraps spread out like playing cards.
But during a period of time where it feels like everything that was old is now new again — jelly slides, bucket hats, “Saved By the Bell” — and chain restaurants are bringing back retro favorites in droves, I’m humbly asking McDonald’s to bring back the Snack Wrap, a.k.a the best lunch item they ever carried.
The Snack Wrap was simple, though customers had a few options. You could get either grilled or crispy chicken; ranch dressing or honey mustard. It came in a soft flour tortilla with just enough iceberg for crunch and a thin layer of slightly-melted cheddar jack cheese. When they first debuted in 2006, after being created and tested by Culinary of Institute of America chefs, the Snack Wraps sold for a cool $1.29.
They were light, portable and cheap, all attributes that McDonald’s touted in initial press releases about the item.
“McDonald’s developed the Snack Wrap to accommodate the lifestyles of our customers who are always on the go and want a quality product made with premium ingredients,” said Ralph Alvarez, president of McDonald’s North America in 2006. “The portability, value, and overall great taste of the Snack Wrap take snacking to a whole new level.”
The Snack Wraps were an immediate hit, enough so that it kicked off a Snack Warp War akin to the ongoing, and frankly tedious, Chicken Sandwich War between fast-food chains. KFC attempted a “Toasted Wrap,” made with a flour tortilla, a chicken strip, lettuce, pepper mayo, and a three-cheese blend. Wendy’s followed shortly thereafter with a Spicy Chicken Go-Wrap (which, it should be noted, were also very good, enough so that people on Reddit continue to attempt to unlock a viable at-home copycat).
Things went along swimmingly for the McDonald’s Snack Wrap for the next decade — the decade during which I learned to drive and would frequently grab one on my way to figure skating practice or between classes. They had enough protein to get me through the next few hours, but were inexpensive enough that they became a cornerstone of my high school and college diet. It was an ideal lunch on-the go or late in the day snack.
But then came 2015. Franchise owners had complained for years that the Snack Wraps were too time-intensive; a classic burger takes ten seconds to put together, while the wraps took closer to a minute thanks to a 20-second steam time needed to make the tortilla pliable. Over the next year, McDonald’s phased the wraps out.
There was some initial backlash, including multiple online petitions, but short of going to Canada where the wraps are still on offer in some provinces, American consumers were out of luck.
However, as fast food chains have brought back fan-favorites like Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza or McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce, there’s a renewed interest in bringing the Snack Wrap back. As Lillian Stone wrote for The Takeout, a TikTok user recently shared “what appears to be a promotional graphic from McDonald’s. The flyer reads: ‘Now there’s a whole new way to snack: McDonald’s Honey Mustard Snack Wrap.'”
She continued: “On top of the flyer, the TikToker has added text that reads ‘SNACK ATTACK IS BACK’ above a date line that reads ‘MAY 15TH, 2022.'”
Unfortunately, Stone reached out to a representative from McDonald’s who confirmed that “at this time, there are no plans to bring Snack Wraps back to nationwide menus in the U.S. or Canada.”
That said, the viral TikTok has caused other millennials like myself to become nostalgic for what was truly McDonald’s perfect lunch. Perhaps it really is time for the snack attack to come back.