Independent start-up business The Natural Kitchen has won the best new shop category in the Natural and Organic Awards, beating US chain Whole Foods Market.

The Natural Kitchen, which opened last year, has one store on Marylebone High Street, London.

"This feels a bit like the David versus Goliath story," said Keith Bird, founder of The Natural Kitchen. "We are proud of what we have achieved. We wanted to recreate the romance and discovery of a marketplace to create an environment that helps connect customers with where their food comes from and to learn more about how the food is produced and prepared."

Judges said The Natural Kitchen, which combines a retail outlet with a cafe, was "an impressive new retail format that provides a strong sense of where the natural and organic retail sector ought to be heading.

It was seen to combine an inspiring product offer with a chic setting, a combination the judges said would "win over organic consumers and convert dabblers".

The Natural Kitchen is backed by property tycoon Elliott Bernerd, who owns Camden market and was behind the development of White City. Bird and business partner Martin O'Connor are both ex-Asda men with more than two decades of retail experience.