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MarkusPetz: I can't speak for eth whole world. But certainly in th eUK there has been a long tradition of free cards in packs of products taht people can trade. Most famous are Cigarette cards.
And then in UK PG Tips Tea Cards. In USA they are split rather than into cigarette and non cigarette into SPorts (further into Baseball and non-baseball) and non-sports cards. Mosty often sold in packs with bublegum.
Sometimes there are albums, sometimes just sets of 40-50 cards. People tend to keep buying to complete set.
Sets have been targetted at Women, Men and children (male and female. THere are even "adult" sets not to be sold to minors and most famous now sets sold just for the cards rather than an addition to the product (such as Magic) Some of these I have seen in Europe.
Famous companies who make them are "Topps", Fleer and Pannini (though they are more stickers and not so collectable).
In the past they have varied from cards to stickers on card to silks (very popular in WWI). I believe foils are possible.
If you want biodegradability its possibel with carsd and prionting is not too difficult. the big issue is packaging - if you have to insert a card into every chocolate pack or have to get the foil cut right each time its not so easy. Not impossisible, but not as easy as pack at any point.
Personally I love the idea of cards - there are many themes that could be developed (for exanmple peoples of the world, tribes and tribal customs that are probably cross cultural and interantional)that have not been explored and the 20th Century is full of good ideas that can be updated (although soem are parochial, like football players in the Premier League in the UK, or Unexplained Mysteries of the Britsih Isles).
Unfortunately / OR fortunately in the UK I do not know of any existing chocolate producers doing this. the closest we have is "penguin" and on their wrappers they include jokes, factoids and odd comments. though they are not really themed as such and I do not know of anyone who collects them. Film releases are another popular choice as people can equate with them.