“Cravings are most prominent during two dayparts,” Byrne said. “Specifically, those are during the afternoon snack and during the late nights.”

He said this holds true across all operator segments, be it c-store, QSR or other. Consumers start the day in a routine way, he said, and lunch is all about familiarity. “There’s less thought behind it.”

But then comes the midafternoon dip. “That’s when cravings are at their most prominent, and even more so for dinner,” Byrne said, relating craveable dayparts to the way consumers behave throughout the year, starting Jan. 1 with best intention and fading by midyear.

“By the end of the year, you’re grazing at the buffet table. Maybe the wings and the pizza at the end of the day is a little bit like that for consumers,” Byrne said. “So when we think about craveability and we’re thinking about what to do, here’s another ingredient. We know it's inextricably tied to those spontaneous occasions.”

Considering what consumers want for an afternoon or late-night snack can help retailers decide what types of items are going to be perceived as highly craveable.

Pictured: 7-Eleven celebrated Oktoberfest with the limited-time roller-grill addition, the Smokey Cheddar Sausage from Johnsonville.