WISCONSIN (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- Online cheese sales are set to hit a major milestone in 2020. They are projected to pass half a billion dollars nationally according to Information Resources Incorporated.

For the past few years online cheese retailers continue to hit record highs in sales.

Like Wisconsin Cheese Mart, which is particularly busy around the holidays

They're in the middle of a two-week span where they send out thousands of cheese packages per day.

All from online sales on their website or Amazon.

“Online cheese sales are our largest increase in sales of any sector we have,” said Kenneth McNulty, Wisconsin Cheese Mart's owner.

McNulty said their online sales increased 40 percent this year compared to last year.

For the past four or five years sales jump every year.

“We have record online sales every year, it's just a question of how much they are,” McNulty said.

McNulty pegs the orders at about 20 to 30 thousand this year. Mostly of Wisconsin specialty cheeses.

“Well Wisconsin cheese is it's own brand,” he said.

McNulty said it's similar to craft brewing with beer. He says not that long ago you could count on two hands how many different specialty cheeses there are, now there's hundreds.

At the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin summit last week Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin presented about how the market those specialty cheeses and the Wisconsin brand.

They say growth has been rapid in online sales, both for shipping and for online grocery store orders for pickup.

“With the advent now of order from your store and go to your store, go inside and either pick it up or have somebody put it in your car, those numbers are growing exponentially,” said Chad Vincent, chief executive officer with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.

PDPW president Jay Heeg is on board with online sales.

“I think it's great, I mean whatever way we can move product and if that's the avenue that they're going to be doing for purchasing, then we need to be involved and have a way to do it,” Heeg said.

This year nationally sales are expected to eclipse $440 million nation-wide according to IRI.

Wisconsin Cheese Mart now ships to every corner of the country, something that wasn't always possible with shipping perishable food items.

“We've just gotten better, we figured this stuff out, we know what packaging configuration to use, we know what shipping service to use,” McNulty said.

With accessibility of cheese orders meeting a new way of shopping, the cheese mart doesn't expect this to slow down.

It's completely changed the business since McNulty bought it 16 years ago.

“Back then it was just a small store, and i don't think it would have survived if there wasn't any online sales,” McNulty said.

Similarly the online sales are providing another avenue for Wisconsin's dairy producers to sell more of their products.

Vincent said 90 percent of Wisconsin's dairy ends up as cheese. They market it to out-of state buyers, which make up the majority of cheese sales from the state.

The holidays are a particularly busy time for online cheese orders. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin helps retailers take advantage of that by curating holiday baskets into a list of options on their own website. The page was the most viewed web page on the site in November.