The Difference Baker Partners With George Mason University and Sodexo to Create the First True Allergy-Friendly Dining Experience on a U.S. College Campus

ASHBURN, Va., Aug. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Difference Baker is thrilled to announce a historic collaboration with George Mason University (GMU) and Sodexo, establishing the first retail location on a U.S. college campus to offer a truly allergy-friendly experience.

This innovative dining concept, set to open in August of 2023, will be entirely free from seven of the top nine allergens (gluten, peanut, tree nut, soy, fish, sesame and crustacean), setting a new standard for campus dining and catering to the diverse needs of GMU’s student community.

The Difference Baker has a proven commitment to catering to various dietary requirements, and its new retail location on George Mason’s campus will be its second. Situated in the Nguyen Engineering Building, this new allergen-friendly retail concept is driven by a shared vision of promoting inclusivity, innovation, and supporting the well-being of all GMU students.

The Difference Baker is currently the only retail establishment in the United States that holds seven of the Certified Free From™ certifications. The bakery is constantly innovating new recipes that are free from additional common allergens and intolerances, and that satisfy complex dietary restrictions.

“We could not be more honored to partner with the Mason Dining/Sodexo team at George Mason University,” said Alyssa Sobecki, owner of The Difference Baker. “It is truly a dream come true. We’re excited to spread our love for allergen-friendly and safe food to those that can’t live without it!”

While other university campuses have introduced allergen-friendly initiatives, the collaboration between The Difference Baker and George Mason University is the first of its kind in the nation to offer this level of allergen inclusivity.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with The Difference Baker in pioneering this groundbreaking allergen-friendly retail concept,” stated Pascal Petter, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services at George Mason University. “Our goal is to provide a truly safe, innovative, and inclusive dining experience for all students. We recognize the significance of catering to a wide range of dietary needs and are proud to lead the way in this aspect of campus dining.”

The grand opening of The Difference Baker’s second location at GMU is an extraordinary milestone, symbolizing a landmark achievement in campus dining nationwide.

“We are delighted to embark on this historic journey alongside The Difference Baker, a shining example of our commitment to providing an unparalleled dining experience at George Mason University,” said John Teeple, Sodexo’s Vice President of Operations. “Sodexo takes immense pride in fostering innovation and inclusivity in campus dining, and this trailblazing collaboration reinforces our dedication to meeting the diverse needs of our student community.”

MenuTrinfo, a national nutrition service providing allergen and nutritional information, as well as employee training and certification, applauds this progressive initiative in ensuring safe food service for the community. “Understanding clearly how to serve safe food in an independent retail store was a win for the food allergy community,” said Betsy Craig, President and CEO of MenuTrinfo. “Adding this to a wonderful campus dining service like George Mason University’s is truly groundbreaking and forward-thinking for the community,” Craig said.

The Difference Baker is a bakery and bistro in Ashburn, VA focused on making food both delicious and accessible for everyone. All of our products are certified free from: gluten, peanut, tree nut, soy, fish, sesame and crustacean. We also have many dairy-free, egg-free and legume-free menu items, as well as keto and vegan options. Learn more at

Alyssa Sobecki