The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has urged health critics to “bring it on”, saying the industry has nothing to hide over sugar content.

At the trade group's annual lunch in London today, BSDA president Dave Wallwork said more scrutiny would highlight the steps soft drinks makers have already made to meet trends towards healthier products. “We know what our consumers want and that will always keep us one step ahead of the critics,” Wallwork said.

UK soft drinks firms have increased marketing spend on low-calorie products by 70% since 2012, Wallwork added, with the category taking a 2.7% share from regular soft drinks. The BSDA president also highlighted changes to front-of-pack labels that have been adopted throughout the industry, which last year increased sales by 4% to GBP15.5bn (US$25m)

“We will continue to build success on meeting consumer needs,” Wallwork added.

The BSDA has faced down health critics in the past, claiming in June an anti-sugar group was “blinded by political zeal”.